Escape of Islamic State mercenaries would pose a threat to all countries, says Loqman Ehme

The spokesman for the Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria, Loqman Ehme, points out that the Islamic State mercenaries pose a danger to all countries. ISIS must be fought together, he said.

ISIS attacked the Sina prison in Hesekê on Thursday evening to make its mercenaries escape. Since then, fierce fighting has taken place in the area. At the same time, the Turkish state has intensified its attacks on Rojava and Shengal.

Loqman Ehme, spokesman for the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, spoke to ANF about the Turkish attacks and the failed break out attempt in Sina prison.

Ehme points out that the Autonomous Administration has been under constant attack ever since it came into existence. The close cooperation between the Islamic State and the Turkish state was shown, for example, in 2016 when the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched the liberation offensive in ISIS-occupied Manbij. "At that time Azaz and Jarablus were also in the hands of ISIS, - said Ehme - but the Turkish State had no problems with the Islamists. When we launched the offensive, the Turkish state began attacking. The connection between the Turkish state and ISIS goes back to the past. Just remember what happened in Mosul: when ISIS attacked Mosul, all the other countries' representations left the city. Only the Turkish representation remained open and worked with the Islamists. We know that the Turkish state intervenes whenever ISIS is hit. Its ties to ISIS run deep. For example, the Turkish invasion of Afrin in 2018 was also timed to coincide with the defeat of ISIS in Kobanê four years earlier.”

Russia is also behind the attacks

The 2019 Turkish invasion of Girê Spî (Tall Abyad) and Serêkaniyê (Ras al-Ain) took place within a set framework that Russia, the US and international powers had agreed on with Turkey, says Ehme, adding that "they've been leaving ever since attacks in a different format to continue to this day. An economic embargo is in place. The waters of the Euphrates and other rivers are used as leverage, and there are targeted Turkish drone strikes. Agents and jihadists, structures of the Turkish state, repeatedly carry out attacks. The recent attack on the prison where thousands of Islamists are being held is part of this same scenario. The fact that the Turkish attacks coincide with those by ISIS is not only due to these two forces. They have other allies in the region. These include above all the government in Damascus. Damascus is constantly using an aggressive language against the SDF and the Autonomy Administration, even going so far as to define the ISIS mercenaries, which keep attacking the SDF, as a 'resisting force'. The latest ISIS attack, like the Russian veto against the opening of the Til Koçer (ar. Al-Yarubiyah) border crossing and the closing of the borders to the areas controlled by the regime and the Sêmalka crossing to South Kurdistan, is part of the multi-level war against the Autonomous Administration. The system of self-government is under constant attack from the Syrian and Turkish regimes because it provides the basis for peace, freedom and brotherhood in the region. It is well known that Russia is also behind this aggression.”

International powers are not doing their job

The Sina prison is not suitable for the incarceration of terrorists and is only used due to a lack of alternatives, explains Loqman Ehme and recalls that the Autonomous Administration has long been calling for an international court for ISIS criminals. To this day there has been no positive answer to this demand. According to Ehme "no one has really taken responsibility for setting up a suitable prison for ISIS mercenaries. In addition, nothing is being done about the embargo and the poverty in the region. Adding all of these factors together, the recent ISIS attack was predictable.

Thousands of ISIS families are also housed in Hol Camp. The Autonomous Administration demands their return to their countries of origin, but nobody answers. In addition to an immense economic burden, this also leads to a serious security problem. Likewise, the massive attacks by the Turkish state and its mercenaries are posing a serious threat to security. The Islamic State benefits from this. We have stated several times that ISIS has not been eliminated and still poses a major threat. That too, has been consistently ignored. The latest incident has once again made it clear that ISIS is very actively organizing itself through covert cells and continues to be a big threat.

We hope that the situation will be better understood in the future and that logistical, economic, technical and intelligence support will be provided to the Autonomy Administration and its security forces. The escape of Islamists from prison is not only a danger for the people and the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria, but also for other countries.”

Loqman Ehme calls on the international powers to fight together against ISIS and says: “ISIS has controlled this region for a long time. It was active here and organized. The Islamic State also feeds of the social poverty that arose as a result of the embargo. In order to fight ISIS ideology in the region, educational work has to be done and the economic problems have to be solved. The international powers must take responsibility for this, they must work with us. As long as that doesn't happen, ISIS will continue to pose a threat. In order to avert this danger, all parties must fulfil their responsibilities.”