House Homeland Security Committee Wants DHS Assessment on Threat from Escaped ISIS Fighters

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Ranking Member of the Committee, today sent a letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis Under Secretary David Glawe to request an intelligence assessment on the threat to the homeland posed by Islamic State (ISIS) foreign fighters released or escaped in the aftermath of the withdrawal of U.S. troops and Turkey’s military actions in northeastern Syria.

“Currently, there are between 10,000 and 12,000 ISIS fighters and family members detained in SDF-run camps, of which over a thousand are believed to be from European countries,” they wrote in part. “In recent days, Kurdish officials have confirmed that at least 800 of those detained have been released or escaped after SDF resources were reallocated to stave off the incursion of Turkish forces to the north. Of particular concern are media reports suggesting U.S. forces have been ‘unable to relocate 50 [High Value Individuals], the most dangerous of the terrorists.’”

“Given the ability of foreign fighters and others escaped or released to transit through Turkey, we are concerned about the threat they may pose to the U.S.,” they added. “Accordingly, we request DHS issue an intelligence assessment analyzing the recent events in Syria and their possible security impact on the homeland.”

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