“Human shield” fear for prisoners in northern Syria – including British teenage bride Shamima Begum.

10 October 2019 By Paul Martin
Akunjee 🖋

Tasnime Mohammed Akunjee told correspondent.world he fears, as the camps become increasingly unguarded, that high-profile detainees like his client could be taken by Kurdish fighters as “human shields”. They could, he said, hold them hostage on the battlefield to make it less likely the fighters will be shot at by Turkish forces.

Another option is that the detainees will be caught up in the fighting itself as prisoners have to escape to find food and possibly to rejoin ISIS.

Akunjee, who in March this year tried and failed to get into the camp where his client is being held, also expressed fear that, before they abandoned them, some prisoners could be executed.

The Kurds, the dominant part of the self-styled Syrian Democratic Forces, have warned they may have no choice but to abandon the prisons and prisoners when they send all available forces north to confront Turkish troops on the border. 

The SDF considers it has more important priorities than protecting thousands of prisoners held in military facilities or families of defeated ISIS fighters held in closely-guarded fenced camps.

The Americans have already taken control of and moved two of the notorious Beatles, the group that executed British and American captives and videoed their cut-throat killings. These Beatles (a nickname given them by other captives who were freed for large amounts of cash) are described by US President Donald Trump as “the worst of the worst” and gave been taken into neighboring Iraq.

“It is really a shame that the whole world [is] calmly watching annihilation of a people who sacrificed their lives in order to achieve a secure and peaceful world free from terrorism,” a spokesman for the SDF joint military command tweeted.

After initially seeming to ignore the defence of his allies, President Trump said on Tuesday that “in no way have we abandoned the Kurds”. He threatened to impose economic sanctions against Turkey if there was “any unforced or unnecessary fighting”. 

Turkish president Tayyib Erdoğan is due to meet Mr Trump at the White House on November 13. 

His spokesman urged Kurdish fighters to lay down their guns and refuse to listen to their commanders’ orders to resist Turkey’s advance. If they refuse to join Turkey “we will have no choice but to stop them from disrupting our counter-Islamic State efforts,” he said.

In his own tweet, President Erdogan said the attacks were aimed at “terrorists”. These, he said, comprised both ISIS and the Kurish fighting forces.

He added: “Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area.”

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