LONDON: Daesh has a potential army in waiting inside prison camps across Iraq and Syria, a US Central Command report has warned.
About 30,000 former Daesh fighters are imprisoned or detained in the two countries, with the group still presenting a threat to the region’s security, the military report said, according to The Times.
A further 25,000 children and families in Syria’s northeastern Al-Hol camp also add to the potential for a Daesh resurgence, with fears that radicalization and extremism are growing within detention.
“These children in the camp are prime targets for Isis (Daesh) radicalization,” the report said. “The international community must work together to remove these children from this environment by repatriating them to their countries or communities of origin while improving conditions in the camp. There is a literal ‘Isis army’ in detention in Iraq and Syria.”
An attack staged by Daesh remnants on a prison in January 2022 led to the killing of 400 fighters and 120 Syrian Democratic Forces soldiers.
“The January prison breakout is a reminder of the risk imposed by these prisons,” CENTCOM warned, adding that the fragmented nature of governance in Syria has led to a power vacuum that a weakened Daesh could use to its advantage.
Western troops, including a US and UK presence, remain in an advisory role in northeast Syria but continue to stage select operations against Daesh targets.
The report said US forces had taken part in 313 operations against Daesh this year in both Syria and Iraq, leading to the deaths of 686 fighters.