According to his family and a top rights organisation, an Australian kid died in a dangerously overcrowded, temporary jail maintained by a Kurdish-led armed group that is holding ISIL (ISIS) suspects from Syria and other countries.
Yusuf Zahab, who was “wrongfully detained” for years in the al-Sina’a prison run by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which houses Syrian and foreign ISIL suspects and their family members in al-Hasakah city, died of undetermined causes after being brought to Syria by older family members when he was 11 years old.
Thousands of women and children whose husbands and fathers had backed the organisation were detained by SDF in temporary camps after ISIL was overthrown in 2019.
Zahab was just 14 years old when he was taken away from his mother and imprisoned with hundreds of other boys from Syria and other countries. After the SDF and ISIL engaged in combat in January to reclaim the jail, Zahab sent Human Rights Watch a number of audio messages in which he begged for assistance and complained about the scarcity of food, water, and medical care.
Zahab reportedly remarked at the time, “I got hurt in my brain and my hand.” I had significant blood loss. There are no doctors in this area, and nobody can assist me. I’m quite anxious. I need aid. Thank you. My pals, a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old, were murdered in front of me. There are numerous dead bodies as well as numerous injured persons who are wailing in anguish.
When Zahab, who would have turned 18 in April, passed away is unknown. Authorities in northeast Syria said that 500 persons perished in the prison battle in January but did not specify how many of those killed were prisoners.
Human Rights Watch’s associate crisis and conflict director, Letta Tayler, referred to Zahab’s passing as “a preventable, tragic catastrophe.”
Yusuf Zahab “survived being forced to live under ISIS, the war to rout ISIS, and an attack on an ISIS jail, only to die while in the possession of the internationally supported troops that freed him,” she claimed.