Fox News’ Benjamin Hall recently spoke to ISIS prisoners in Syria weeks after President Trump made the decision to withdraw U.S. forces, and after Turkey launched a military offensive against the Kurds. He said he was struck by how few guards there were at the prison.
“One of the things that really struck me today was how few guards there were,” Hall said Friday on “Fox News Reporting.”
“The SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] has been clear they need more support when it comes to guarding these prisoners,” Hall said, adding that half the guards at the prison camp he visited had to move north to try and repel the Turks earlier this month.
The Kurds said Turkish-backed forces are still attacking them despite a cease-fire, raising concerns that more ISIS fighters could escape prison. The Pentagon did, however, confirm this week that the U.S. would send more troops and tanks into Syria to guard oil fields there.
The prisoners Hall spoke to said they’ve “turned their back” on the terror group, but the prison guards said that isn’t true and that the prisoners are all still dangerous.
“This is the story that you hear time and time again from these people,” Hall said. “They were cooks. They were cleaners. They didn’t commit any atrocities.”
There are 14,000 ISIS fighters in prison and about 70,000 ISIS families, according to Hall. He said there are also sleeper cells carrying out attacks across the region.
Fox News’ Trace Gallagher asked Hall about the nationalities of the ISIS prisoners. Hall there are more than 50 different nationalities, and that he had spoken to Russians, Moroccans, Tunisians and British prisoners.
Hall asked one British prisoner what he would say to the families of those who had suffered at the hands of ISIS.
“It’s hard, it’s hard. What can I say? Whatever I say it’s not going to be enough,” the prisoner said. “Of course I’m sorry for the ones who are oppressed.”
“The whole experience was a mistake. It was a big mistake. I had more zeal than sense,” the prisoner added.