Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD), the Assembly’s rapporteur on “addressing the issue of Daesh foreign fighters and their families returning from Syria and other countries to the member States of the Council of Europe”, today responded to the withdrawal of US military forces from northern Syria and the subsequent military incursion by Turkish forces.
“The Turkish military incursion into northern Syria should be halted and in no circumstances should it be allowed to jeopardise the continued detention of Daesh combatants, which is currently assured by the Syrian Democratic Forces that Turkey is attacking,” said Mr Omtzigt.
“In this respect, I note that President Trump has stated that Turkey is now responsible for ensuring that captured Daesh combatants remain in detention and that Daesh is not permitted to re-establish itself. If these detainees escape, they represent a serious threat to regional and international security. At least 4,000 are from Council of Europe member States and they would pose a grave danger to our societies should they escape and return unsupervised.”
“Some of the detainees will be guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and other serious crimes under international law. They must be brought to trial and punished. This week’s developments reaffirm the urgent need to proceed with prosecution of members of Daesh, whether through national courts in the region or individuals’ countries of origin, or through an international tribunal, as the Assembly called for in its Resolution 2190 (2017),” he concluded.