Foreign ISIS members captured by Kurdish forces will be put on trial in Syria beginning in the spring after their governments failed to repatriate them, local authorities said Thursday.
The administration that controls northeastern Syria announced it would conduct trials for the thousands of imprisoned foreign nationals following a meeting with the Finnish foreign ministry.
Dozens of Canadians are among the detainees.
“We explained our intention to set up a special court for ISIS to the Finnish government and asked for help from the legal and technical aspects, and that this trial be transparent and public,” the statement said.
Kurdish fighters are holding more than 1,000 men, 4,000 women and 8,000 children from 53 countries, said Fener al-Kait, assistant minister in the External Affairs Ministry.
Captured during the collapse of ISIS, they are being held in makeshift prisons and camps throughout the region.
“This is an international crisis, and an international solution must be found for them,” al-Kait said.
Kurdish and U.S. authorities have appealed to Ottawa to repatriate the Canadians and prosecute them, but the Liberal government has declined to do so.
Many other governments have similarly abandoned their citizens.
None of the Canadians yet face any charges in Canada, although several have openly acknowledged their involvement in ISIS in interviews with Global News.
According to Public Safety Canada documents obtained by Global News, the government is arguing it has no legal obligation “to take steps to facilitate their return to Canada.”
The government is also claiming that Syria is an active conflict area “and safety concerns currently prevent Canadian officials from travelling to northeastern Syria,” according to the documents.