While the Turkish offensive launched on October 9 against the Kurdish militia of the units of protection of the people (YPG) in the north of Syria raises fears of foreign jihadist escapes held by Syrian Kurds, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean -Yves Le Drian, is Thursday, October 17 in Iraq for discussions.
The head of French diplomacy must mention the creation in this country of an "international device" to try the jihadists of the Islamic State organization.
Europeans, first concerned by the risks of attacks, fear for their safety if the Kurds, committed against the Turks, can no longer hold prisoner jihadist camps located in the extreme north-east of Syria, near the border Turkish.
About 12,000 fighters of the Islamic State group, including 2,500 to 3,000 foreigners, are being held in Kurdish-controlled prisons, according to figures from Kurdish sources. And IDP camps in northeastern Syria are home to around 12,000 foreigners, 8,000 children and 4,000 women.
The fate of the French jihadists in question
In front of senators, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said Wednesday that Jean-Yves Le Drian should "discuss with his counterparts and with the Iraqi government measures to put in place and possibly the support that is likely to be put in place, particularly in the field of judicial cooperation ". Because "a number of those who are detained in Syria by the Kurds have committed crimes in Iraq and may, therefore, if necessary, be judiciarized on the spot," he added.
A dozen French jihadists held by Syrian Kurdish forces have already been transferred to Iraq in late January to be tried. Asked Wednesday on the channel BFMTV and Radio RMC about possible new transfers of foreign jihadists, including French, Kurdish camps where they are held in Syria to Iraq, Jean-Yves Le Drian simply replied that these camps are not not for the moment threatened.
"To my knowledge, at present, the Turkish offensive and the positioning of SDS (Kurdish-Arab alliance, Ed) have not resulted in these camps, which are mainly in the North East -Is Syrian, are threatened in (their) safety and security indispensable, "he said.
The Kurdish authorities on Sunday announced the escape of nearly 800 relatives of ISIS foreign jihadists from a displacement camp in the north of the country. For its part, the United States said Tuesday it had not "found at this stage of major escape" of jihadist group prisoners, returning to statements by US Defense Minister Mark Esper, who had reported the day before the "release of many dangerous detainees".
Pence and Pompeo in Ankara
Also, on the diplomatic front, US Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, dispatched by Donald Trump to Turkey, will attempt Thursday to snatch a ceasefire in northern Syria to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The latter summoned the Kurdish forces to lay down their arms and withdraw from the region.
Vigorously criticized in Washington for giving a green light to the Turkish operation, the US president has since urged Ankara to stop its offensive and authorized sanctions against Turkey.
"Our mission is to see if we can get a ceasefire, see if we can negotiate," said Mike Pompeo to the press before boarding his plane.
As for a truce, the Turkish president has already ruled out "sitting at the table of terrorists", an expression for the YPGs, and argued that for the offensive to end, forces would have to Kurds disarm and retreat.
On the ground, fighting continues to rage, especially in Ras al-Ain, a town on the Turkish border where Kurdish fighters are trying to repel the onslaught of Ankara forces.
In seven days, 71 civilians, 158 FDS combatants and 128 protesters have been killed, according to the OSDH. Ankara lamented the deaths of six soldiers in Syria as well as 20 civilians by firing rockets of Kurdish fighters on Turkish cities.
In addition, the offensive has led to the exodus of 160,000 people in northern Syria, according to the UN, while the Security Council worried Wednesday "the risk of dispersion" jihadists held prisoners in northeastern Syria, but without calling for the end of the Turkish military offensive against the Kurds.