Thousands of men suspected of being affiliated with ISIS await trial in al-Hasakah central prison in northeast Syria, now administered by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Rare footage from inside the prison shot on Monday December 2 shows detainees in orange jumpsuits sitting on mattresses in overcrowded cells while SDF guards keep watch. According to Abd Alrahman, a detainee from Iraq, guards have allowed him to paint in his cell.
“[This painting] is about a prisoner of mind, here the black represents the darkness,” he said. “Here he wants to free himself but he cannot reach to the key and he needs some help just like I am imprisoned and the party [SDF] helped me, they gave me this equipment to paint.”
Some 5,000 detainees from 54 countries are reportedly held in the prison, some of them teenagers. Al-Hasakah central prison and other detainment facilities in north-eastern Syria are at the centre of a dispute between Washington and its European allies, who have yet to find a solution to prosecute prisoners from Western countries.
According to the Pentagon, of the roughly 10,000 suspected ISIS prisoners held by the SDF in the region, about 8,000 are from Iraq and Syria. Although the US State Department has declined to say how many are from Europe, they are estimated to number in the hundreds according to some reports.
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