ISIS fighters being held in Syrian prisons say they plan to “go after America” if they are released by Kurdish troops who could soon be fleeing from Turkish attacks.
The militants are being held across a network of prisons on northern Syria and guarded by the Kurdish military, which took up the brunt of fighting against ISIS. Those Kurdish troops are now preparing for an attack from Turkey after American President Donald Trump this week ordered U.S. troops to move out of the area and allow Turkey to commence with its long-planned military campaign in the region.
As the Kurdish troops prepare for the attack, the fate of the thousands of prisoners they are guarding is up in the air. A report from ABC World News this week spoke to some of those ISIS fighters, who said they will “go after America” if they are released by the fleeing Kurdish troops.
Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to order American troops to stand down in northern Syria has led to fear that the gains made against ISIS in the region could be lost and that the thousands of detained militants may soon be set free. The Washington Post this week reported that the U.S. military has no plans to intervene if the Kurdish troops are forced to abandon the prisons. A source told the newspaper that the Pentagon did not have enough troops available to oversee the prisons and did not have a mandate from Trump to step in.
“Kurdish officials said that guards were still in place at the more than 20 prisons and camps under their control but were prepared to move, raising the possibility that about 11,000 militants and their families could escape,” the report noted.
As The Inquisitr reported, experts have already raised alarm about the potential for ISIS fighters to escape and regroup. Josie Ensor, Middle East correspondent for the Telegraph, pushed back against assertions that the prisoners would be transitioned to Turkish control, especially as the Kurdish troops are coming under attack by Turkey.
“I’d love to know what this smooth transition of control of ISIS prisons in northern Syria from the Kurds to Turks would look like,” Ensor wrote via Twitter.
Reports on Wednesday indicated that the Turkish bombardment of Kurdish positions has already started, with the Kurdish military reported that homes have been bombed and already two civilians have been killed. The Kurdish forces have asked the United States for air support to protect civilians, but Donald Trump has ordered American troops not to intervene.