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MEMBERS of the Isis death cult, which held vast swathes of territory across Syria and Iraq, are being rehabilitated under a wide-ranging and ambitious programme, a new report has revealed.
The Rojava Information Centre, an independent media organisation based in the mainly Kurdish autonomous region in northern Syria, detailed how low-level members of the jihadist organisation have been offered training and education to rid them of the poisonous ideology.
This includes discussion sessions and other activities along with a system of justice that is intended to break the cycle of violence that led to the rise of Isis across the region.
The programme is focused on the al-Hol camp, home to some 73,000 Isis members detained after the group’s defeat by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in 2017.
About 13,000 of the detainees are foreign women and children, along with some 2,000 Isis fighters caught on the battlefields.
While the international community has continued to ignore pleas from the SDF and camp authorities to take back citizens and put them on trial in their own countries, the poor conditions at al-Hol led to fears of it becoming “a ticking time bomb” which would allow Isis to arise anew.
More than 800 attempted escapes have been foiled this year, according to regional officials, who said that those who flee usually remain loyal to Isis, and at least 750 were known to have escaped during last year’s invasion by Nato member Turkey, which bombed the vicinity of the Ain Issa camp.
A further attack on the region has been under way for the past few days, with missiles pounding civilian areas; a ground offensive by Turkey’s jihadist allies in the Syrian National Army was launched today — to global silence.
Rojava officials are still pressing for an international mechanism to put Isis members on trial but their calls have been ignored. In the meantime local courts have been established with a focus on education and rehabilitation to enable reintegration into society.
Classes in “democratic Islam” have been established as part of the aim to break the ideological grip of Isis and its dogmatic interpretation of the Koran, the report said, and a religious assembly sees involvement of Muslims, Christians and Yazidis, uniting those from the three main faith groups in the region.
Younger detainees are given a structured programme of educational and sporting activities that includes reading and writing skills.
US citizen Suli explained: “I like it here. It’s better than before. We can play football, we learn new things here, we have good classes, it’s much better. The people treat me well. I get to speak to my mum sometimes. I got to visit my mum [in Hol camp] once. She is happy that I’m continuing to learn and study.”
A general amnesty for Syrian nationals at the camp convicted of low-level crimes was recently announced, with 631 prisoners sentenced on terror charges who have served over half their sentences released; 253 had their sentences halved.
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