Kurdish forces have arrested 41 Swedish citizens in Syria who left Sweden to fight for the Islamic State with five being described as high-level members of the terror organisation.
Kurdish authorities fighting in Northern Syria revealed that they had captured Swedish citizens or permanent residents, telling Swedish media over the weekend: “Five of them have had key positions within IS. One of them has been responsible for propaganda,” Expressen reports.
“We treat well those who we capture, even though they are terrorists who have murdered innocent people,” the Kurdish source told the newspaper.
One of the most famous Swedish Islamic radicals to travel to Syria was former Islamophobia expert Michael Skråmos. A convert to Islam, Skråmos had participated in propaganda for the Islamic State and called on fellow jihadists to carry out attacks in Sweden. His last known location was the former Islamic State capital of Raqqa.
Swedish Islamic State Fighters Captured in Raqqa Could Face Death Penalty
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 24, 2017
Magnus Ranstorp, one of Sweden’s leading terrorism experts, slammed the government’s slow response in dealing with radical Islamic jihadists who have travelled to the Middle East to fight for Islamic radical groups like the Islamic State.
“We have had a delay effect because we have not had legislation in place. There has been a low level of expertise throughout the chain, both in terms of legislation and prevention,” Ranstorp said. So far, around 150 fighters have returned to Sweden from the Middle East and few have been prosecuted under Swedish law.
Swedish Interior Minister Morgan Johansson refused to strip the citizenship of Islamic State fighters last year and Minister for Culture and Democracy Alice Bah Kuhnke suggested the fighters be welcomed back and helped to integrate back into society.
Whether or not Sweden will take back Swedish prisoners from the Kurdish militias is still unknown, though some sources have claimed that low-level talks between the Kurds and the Swedish government are ongoing.
Nasrin Abdullah, a commander of the female branch of the YPG militia, confirmed the talks were happening and argued that Sweden should take back its citizens and bring them to justice.