The US-led coalition wants Islamic State foreign fighters held in prisons in northern Syria to return their home countries and face justice there.
“Foreign terrorist fighters are a third area of growing interest among the international community. Among the past few months, officials of several governments have spoken openly of hundreds of foreign terrorist fighters under SDF detention in Syria,” Col. Thomas F. Veale, a U.S. military spokesman told reporters on Tuesday.
“We have repeatedly called on the nations of the world to come forward, claim their citizens and bring them to justice in their home countries,” he added.
The SDF is holding several hundreds of ISIS foreign fighters and their families and have also called on Western countries to take back their foreign fighters and their families.
However, many Western countries are reluctant to take back foreign ISIS fighters and their families, fearing security threats.
“So our Syrian Democratic Forces partners have adequate facilities right now to house and care for the detainees. As you can imagine, it is a drain on their resources. They are not a policing organization,” he said.
“We wish they could dedicate all their resources to doing the work they've done so well the past three years, which is kill and capture ISIS. So that's -- that's why we're calling on the international community, because there are citizens of various nations in detention there that should go home to face justice. That's not an SDF job,” he added.
The coalition is worried holding foreign fighters in prison in northern Syria could present a security risk.
“We know from past experience that detention centers are a breeding ground for radicalism. We cannot afford to allow this issue to go unresolved. It's a global issue that requires a global solution,” he said.
Some news reports suggest that the US prison in Camp Bucca in Iraq that held several notorious Jihadists that were later released, became the birthplace of ISIS.
“Although we're now defeating the remnants of ISIS's conventional military force, we have to remember the enemy is adaptable and determined to rise again,” he added.
“If the nations of the world fail to address the foreign terrorist fighter detention issue, they will have missed an opportunity to prevent the next iteration of ISIS, whose foundation is in detention right now,” he concluded.