400 Islamic State members released by Syrian Kurdish militia, Russia says

The authorities in Syrian Kurdistan have pardoned some 400 former Islamic State (IS) members in January, a United Nations press release quoted Russia's UN representative as saying.

Vassily Nebenzia, the Russian permanent representative at the UN, said on Thursday that everyone who helped IS, as well as IS fighters themselves, must be held accountable.

Nebenzia added that about 120 of the former IS fighters had joined the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The United States provides arms and training to the SDF in its fight against the Islamic State in Syria.

Ankara considers the Syrian Kurdish militia as a threat to its borders, and accuses NATO-ally Washington of risking its security.

Former IS fighters held by the Kurdish-led SDF were released “on the condition that they will fight against Turkey,” Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman Mahir Ünal told the Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu.


BBC revealed in November that SDF made a deal with IS, after four months of fighting to capture the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, to move out the remaining IS fighters and their families to IS-held territories in southeast Syria.

Raqqa’s freedom was bought with blood, sacrifice and compromise. The deal freed its trapped civilians and ended the fight for the city. No SDF forces would have to die storming the last IS hideout.