SOHR: Iraq’s top security advisor asks NATO to repatriate foreign prisoners
Iraq’s National Security Advisor Qasim al-Araji on Sunday met with Michael Anker, commander of the NATO mission in Iraq, and the two discussed methods of dealing with threats that prisoners of foreign nationalities impose on the country, Araji’s media office announced.
According to the statement, Araji heavily stressed on the dire need for the international community to repatriate their nationals affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS), who are held in Iraqi prisons.
“Araji stressed to the commander that the safest way is for countries to repatriate their nationals who are detained in [Iraqi] prisons, and among them are leaders in ISIS,” read the statement. “And in case their countries can’t receive them, they must transfer them to another area, because they pose a serious threat.”
The statement comes as Iraqi counter-terrorism forces on Sunday announced the completion of a major campaign to inspect prisons, wary of potential security gaps following the attempted prison siege in Syria.
The two also touched on the situation with regards to the al-Hol camp in northeast Syria (Rojava), infamously branded a breeding ground for terrorism. There have been repeated calls from Kurdish and US officials asking the international community to repatriate their nationals from al-Hol, but only a few countries have responded positively as they are worried about security concerns.
Earlier this month, Iraq repatriated over one hundred families affiliated with ISIS from the al-Hol camp.
Following ISIS’s major incursion attempt on the Hasaka prison in Syria last week, Araji said that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are incapable of dealing with such a copious amount of terrorists, adding that the international community’s reluctance to repatriate their national sparks fear about a potential ISIS resurgence.
According to the latest data obtained by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the death toll from the failed attack in the Hasaka prison has risen to 373 deaths. Among them are 268 ISIS members, 98 security forces (Asayish) and prison guards, and seven civilians.
On Thursday, the SDF called on the international community to accelerate repatriation efforts of their ISIS-affiliated nationals.