Turkish-Backed Rebels Holding ISIS Women and Children for Ransom

Rebel Group Ahrar al-Sharqiya Part of ‘Syrian National Army’

A source on the ground in Syria told the Defense Post on Friday that the Turkish-backed rebel group Ahrar al-Sharqiya is holding ISIS-affiliated women and children for ransom. The group reportedly took “about 150 foreign families” from the Ain Issa camp in northeast Syria.

After a Turkish airstrike on the area on October 14th, it was reported that over 1,000 women and children fled the camp. A British woman who was held in the camp told the Telegraph on Friday that she left on her own and is now being held by Syrian rebels near the Turkish border.

Ahrar al-Sharqiya is one of the groups fighting the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces under the banner of the Syrian National Army (SNA), also known as the Free Syrian Army. The Irish Times was contacted by a member of the SNA who wanted to sell the Times an interview with Lisa Smith, an Irish woman who was in the Ain Issa camp.

Since the Turkish offensive into northeast Syria began, Ahrar al-Sharqiya has been accused of war crimes. Video footage surfaced of them executing a Kurdish politician and other prisoners.

Many of these groups that make up the SNA were at one time or another, supported by the U.S in their efforts to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to a research paper published this October by the Turkish think-tank SETA, out of the 28 different factions that make up the Turkish mercenary force, “21 were previously supported by the United States.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is assistant editor at Antiwar.com and a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn NY, focusing on US foreign policy and wars. He is on Twitter at @decampdave.