WEST KURDISTAN (SYRIA) – New report: foreign fighters held by SDF now top 9,000 fighters and 60,000 of their families

by Seth Frantzman

A new CNN report presents the full numbers of those detained by SDF as the ISIS “caliphate” collapsed over the last year. This now includes 9,000 ISIS fighters (Syrian and Iraq), 60,000 of their families and “affiliates” and up to 2,000 foreign fighters.

“Currently, we can confirm more than 1,000 foreign terrorist fighters from more than 50 countries in SDF custody. We anticipate that number will rise as we work with the SDF to verify the national identities of ISIS fighters in SDF custody,” Pentagon spokesman Cdr. Sean Robertson told CNN.

It used to be that there were thought to be 3,200 ISIS members held by the IDF before Hajin and the Baghouz offensive that began in September 2018. The 3,200 allegedly included around 900 foreign fighters from 41 countries. It was never entirely clear if that was accurate or if they were mostly foreign.

Now the growing numbers are revealed. The SDF, with support from the Coalition, is using biometrics to determine who is who. This is especially the case with the foreigners. It can help investigators to look into these fighters and trace them to their home countries. Most European countries refuse to take them back even though European ISIS members played some of the most cruel and genocidal role in ISIS.

Big data

Many of those who left Baghouz were fingerprinted. We now know that in Al Hol camp, CNN reports, that there are 73,041 people. 65 percent are under 18. 43% are Syrians and 42% are Iraqis. The rest are from other countries.

ISIS was a kind of colonial operation, in which up to 50,000 people journeyed from around the world to genocide, ethnic-cleanse and enslave locals. In defeat many of these foreign genocide tourists now remain.