Lawyers representing western nationals detained in Kurdish-held areas of Syria on suspicion of fighting for the Islamic State (IS) group have expressed concern that their clients will not be treated fairly if they are left to face trial in local courts.

Farid Malik, a solicitor at ITN Solicitors which is representing individuals in the region, told Middle East Eye that the law firm had “significant doubts” that those held in territory controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) could receive a trial which conforms to international human rights standards.

“The criminal justice situation in Kurdish-held areas of Syria is opaque and it is doubtful that the infrastructure exists to ensure procedural fairness, such as access to proper legal representation,” said Malik.

“Moreover, the manner in which the local authorities have detained suspects falls far below the standard required by international law.”