Iraq has begun trial proceedings for nearly 900 Iraqi suspected members of ISIS extremist group caught fleeing extremist territory in neighboring Syria, a judicial source told AFP on Sunday.
They were handed over to Iraqi authorities by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which ousted ISIS from swathes of eastern Syria including territory bordering Iraq.
“We received the interrogation files of nearly 900 Iraqi Daesh (ISIS) members coming from Syria,” the court official said, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
“The specialized terrorism court has begun setting dates for their trial in batches,” the source added.
The nearly 900 suspected extremists were transferred by the SDF to Iraqi custody in recent months as the remnants of ISIS’ once sprawling self-declared “caliphate” collapsed in neighboring Syria.
Additional Iraqi suspects are in SDF custody and awaiting transferal, a security source told AFP Sunday.
“They will be handed over in batches on the Syrian-Iraqi border. They include very influential leaders, but ISIS had sought to keep them hidden,” the security source said.
One of those destined to be handed over was deeply involved in ISIS’ efforts to develop chemical weapons, he said.
Iraq has already tried thousands of its own nationals arrested on home soil for joining ISIS - including women - and has sentenced hundreds to death.