March 31, 2019

ISIS defeat in Syria fuels debate over foreign fighters’ repatriation

Source: The Arab Weekly

Journalist: Simon Speakman Cordall

As the last scraps of the Islamic State’s caliphate fall to the Western-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, the victors must deal with a potentially dangerous peace dividend: captured militants and their families.

Frustrated at Europe’s reluctance to accept repatriation of jihadists, US President Donald Trump in February threatened to release hundreds of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters. “The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial,” Trump posted on Twitter.

“The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them.”

Though some ISIS fighters have made their way to their home countries in the region, many remain in Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) camps in Syria. There are no official numbers for the prison camps or the number of ISIS prisoners within them.

Read the full article and more in The Arab Weekly.


  • Nicholas Heras

    Former Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Nicholas A. Heras is a former Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. His work focused on the analysis of complex...