ISIL militants ‘paid way out of YPG jail’
YPG militants in charge of jails in northeast Syria housing about 10,000 men with alleged links to ISIL are releasing prisoners in exchange for money under a “reconciliation” scheme, the Guardian reported on Nov. 22.
Syrian men imprisoned without trial can pay an $8,000 fine to be freed, according to interviews with two freed men and official documents, the report said.
As part of the deal, the released prisoners sign a declaration promising not to rejoin any armed organizations and to leave parts of Syria under the control of the YPG.
The British daily wrote that two men who were in the ranks of ISIL until 2019, were released from the al-Hawl camp under the deal and then reunited with their wives and children.
It is not known how many men have been able to buy their freedom in this manner, but the two released men estimated at least 10 people they knew from their time in Hasakeh prison had left in the same way since the reconciliation scheme was implemented in 2019.
Farhad Shami, a YPG-led SDF spokesperson, denied that the document obtained by the Guardian, which the released men said they had signed, was official and said no such practice was taking place.
The international anti-ISIL coalition said it could not comment.
The daily also featured the story of a former ISIL member named Abu Jafar, who once served as a security guard in Raqqa, but was released in March.
In addition to the $8,000 fine, Abu Jafar paid another $22,000 in bribes to various YPG-led SDF officials, money he raised by asking his wealthy family in nearby Tabqa to sell some of their properties, according to the newspaper.
About 8,000 Syrian and Iraqi men accused of being ISIL members, and 2,000 more foreigners who have not been repatriated by their home countries, are held in three overcrowded prisons in northeast Syria.