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Syria Kurds hand over alleged female Daesh member to Sudan

By AFP - Sep 21,2018 - Last updated at Sep 21,2018

A Sudanese woman (2nd right) carrying a one-month-old baby, accused of joining the Daesh terrorist group, being escorted by a Sudanese diplomat in Syria's northeastern city of Qamishli, after she was handed over by the Kurdish authorities, on Thursday (AFP photo)

QAMISHLI, Syria — Syria's Kurds said they handed over a Sudanese woman accused of belonging to the Daesh group and her baby to a Sudanese diplomat on Thursday, while hundreds more foreigners remained in their custody.

Kurdish authorities controlling swathes of north-eastern Syria have detained alleged Daesh members from dozens of foreign countries since the extremist group's so-called caliphate crumbled last year.

But their home countries have been overwhelmingly reluctant to claim them, with public opinion hostile to repatriating them.

On Thursday, the Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria delivered a Sudanese woman and her one-month-old baby to a Sudanese diplomat in the north-eastern city of Qamishli, an AFP correspondent and an official said.

The Kurds "decided to hand her over to her country's embassy" after Khartoum requested the transfer, Kurdish foreign affairs official Abdel Karim Omar said.

"She was arrested on January 10, 2018, on the accusation of belonging to Daesh," Omar said, without providing further details.

Daesh fighters swept across large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, declaring a "caliphate" in territory they held, but have since lost most of it to various offensives.

In Syria, Kurdish fighters have formed the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance backed by the US-led coalition that has expelled the militants from swathes of the country.

"Around 520 Daesh mercenaries, as well as 550 women and around 1,200 children from 44 countries" are still in Kurdish custody, Omar said, stressing they were all "foreigners".

"It's a heavy burden that we can't carry alone," he said.

The fate of alleged foreign Daesh members captured in Syria remains controversial, with only rare countries agreeing to take back their detainees, mostly women and children.

"We will not try any Daesh fighter," Omar said.

"We are trying as much as possible... to pressure governments to carry out their duties and take their citizens back."

Among the most infamous detainees are Alexanda Amon Kotey and Al Shafee Al Sheikh, two survivors of a four-man Daesh team who carried out beheadings and were dubbed "The Beatles" because they were British.

Syria's Kurds have also captured several alleged Daesh members from France, and last month an Italian accused of being part of the militant group as he attempted to cross the border to Turkey.

In August, Washington said the SDF had handed over two Americans accused of supporting Daesh to US authorities.

Lebanese members of Daesh have also been transferred to Beirut.

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