US, EU, and Kurds at Odds Over ISIS Prisoners in Syria

US wants Europe to take detainees, but France and Germany say no

The fate of the large quantity of ISIS detainees being held in Syria is a subject of growing discussion across the world, with the Trump Administration hoping to get something sorted out in the course of their withdrawal. ISIS is being held mostly by Kurds, and the US wants them transferred to the countries of origin.

The US intends to have Europe take most of them, though France and Germany have both rejected the appeal to accept over 800 detainees, out of the estimated 1,500 currently held. Britain is still debating taking a much smaller number.  Germany has suggested they could only consider such moves if they have consular access.

The Kurdish SDF say they don’t intend to release the ISIS fighters back into Syria even if they have no place to send them, despite the US trying to scare Europe into taking them with that notion.

Even then, the SDF is calling this a “time bomb,” and warning that the ISIS detainees might conceivably escape and threaten the West if the West doesn’t take them back first, which is either a threat to release them, or a damning indictment of their confidence in keeping detainees.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of