2019-10-14 09:32:57

Shafaq News/ The European countries are trying to speed up the implementation of a plan to transfer thousands of ISIS militants from the camps they are held in Syria to Iraq after the outbreak of new fighting that might have a risk on their escape or return to their countries.

The Europeans represent fifth of ISIS fighters in Syria, as they are about 10,000 held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is under heavy attack from Turkish troops.

If SDF guards send places of detention to the front lines, there is a risk that detainees would flee.

Before the Turkish offensive start, European countries were assessing on how to find a mechanism that could lead to the transfer of foreign fighters from Syria to Iraq for prosecution there on war crimes charges.

European countries do not want to prosecute their nationals on their territory for fear of provoking public outrage and their judicial systems might face struggle in gathering evidence and the risk of renewed militant attacks there.

Iraq has witnessed some of the bloodiest fighting against ISIS and is already sentencing thousands of suspected ISIS members there after Iraqi forces arrested many people during the fall of ISIS strongholds across the country.

Eleven EU judicial experts met for the first time in June to assess their choices and made slow progress, partly because of concerns about the integrity of Iraq's judiciary.

Diplomatic and government sources say that the Turkish offensive in northern Syria has prompted European countries to speed up negotiations.

A core group of six countries from which most of the fighters held in Kurdish prisons, including France, Britain and Germany, have been pushing to reduce the number of options after ruling out the formation of a special international tribunal as the formation of such a court can take years and is unlikely to win the support of the UN Security Council.

While the last meeting, held on October 11 in Copenhagen, focused on the formation of a joint court of international and Iraqi judges.

These discussions are taking place in parallel with the Government of Baghdad.

Negotiations with Iraq, which also seeks millions of dollars in compensation for accepting European fighters on its soil, are not easy.

Three European diplomats said that talks were continuing with Iraq and there would be strong efforts to speed up those efforts in light of the Turkish offensive, but a deal with Baghdad was still far away.