The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have handed over more than a hundred Iraqi members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, who had been captured in neighboring Syria, to Iraqi government forces.
The spokesman for Iraq’s Joint Operations Command, Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul, told AFP on Thursday that Iraqi security forces had received 130 Iraqi Daesh militants from the SDF.
“They used to fight in Iraq but when the battles were over they went to Syria where they were captured by SDF forces during recent fighting,” he added.
Naim al-Kaood, the head of the security department in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, also said the 130 Daesh Takfiris handed over were “wanted” by the Baghdad government.
A commander of Iraqi voluntary fighters from the pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) – better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi – said the extremists were all Iraqi nationals and were handed over to authorities, including members of military intelligence.
Other groups will be handed over to Iraq, including families of the militants, the commander, who declined to be named, said.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that around 150 Daesh militants and their family members had been handed over to Iraq.
It said the relatives were taken from the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz to Iraq in trucks belonging to the US-led coalition and covered tightly with tarps.
SDF spokesman Mustefa Bali, however, dismissed Iraq’s claims. “We deny this information part and parcel,” he said.
The Observatory announced on Saturday that SDF forces had captured Daesh’s last remaining enclave in eastern Syria.
The group stated the last few hundred terrorists, many of them foreigners, had surrendered in the past two days to the US-backed Kurdish-led forces. It said some militants may still be hiding in underground tunnels.
On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said that he was concerned about developments in Syria, where Daesh terrorists have lost their last stronghold on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, and are fleeing in droves towards desert areas in Iraq’s western province of Anbar.