Pentagon officials are saying that the US is continuing to conduct
biometric screening on ISIS detainees held by the US-backed SDF forces
in northeastern Syria. They believe that in excess of 2,000 ISIS detainees are foreign nationals.
This is a difficult process to go through, as a lot of the detainees
don’t exactly have IDs on their state of origin, and at any rate, many
of the nations, the US included, are loathe to take them back. The
Pentagon estimated less than two dozen Americans in the entire group.
But that could be just the start of the Americans involved in all of
this. The 2,000 foreign ISIS fighters are among over 9,000 such fighters
the SDF currently holds. The rest are believed to be from either Syria
But the SDF is also nominally holding some 60,000 other people, mostly
civilians, who the US identifies as “ISIS affiliates.” These people are
being held in camps for the foreseeable future, and it’s not at all
clear where they come from, or if there is a serious effort to be
undertaking to figure that out.
US defense officials say the “affiliates” are mostly women and children,
and that US decided they were not ordinary innocent civilians, on the
grounds that they either chose to stay in ISIS-held territory, or were
forced to do so by ISIS.