Foreign Fighter Returnees: An Ongoing Concern

  • | Monday, 5 October, 2020
Foreign Fighter Returnees: An Ongoing Concern

     Defeating and getting rid of ISIS it in both Syria and Iraq have left behind remnants of fighters from different countries who had joined the Organization in its flourishing period since 2014. This is a legacy that most countries do not want to inherit. Therefore, there were different attitudes in the way that the concerned countries tried to handle the issue as to whether to accept or reject them or otherwise adopt other approaches. Many countries consider those fighters who were once members of this extremist Organization a time bomb that might explode in the society and spread the violent ideology if not properly handled. As many of the ISIS returnees were Europeans, we address here the approaches taken by the European counties in dealing with the issue. For many countries, the return of these elements represents a security burden even when they are kept in prisons.
The key question that appears here is: What should we do with the returnees from lands occupied by ISIS? Since the beginning of ISIS collapse in Iraq and Syria, America’s allies and partners have begun to address the issue. However, in the recent period, the issue came to be more critical as a result of American policy. What reflects the controversy over how to deal with foreign fighters is the call of US President Donald Trump on Europeans to restore the foreign fighters in prisons in Syria. In addition, as mentioned in many International sites, the United States vetoed a U.N. resolution calling for the prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of all those engaged in terrorism-related activities, saying the resolution did not call for the repatriation of foreign fighters of ISIS and their families, which is “the crucial first step.” 
Although the ways of dealing with the problem of the return of foreign fighters in European countries vary, the majority of them are concerned about their coming back out of fear of forming "dormant or active terrorist cells" as well as their ability to negatively affect society by their radical ideology. On the other hand, the rehabilitation of women who joined ISIS ought to be different from that of men. Although some of them have carried weapons, participated in suicide operations and were involved in planning, supply, information transmission and recruitment, the reality remains that most of the women in the camps are victims of their family conditions and brainwash, and meanwhile their countries are dealing with great concern, anxiety and fear after their return.

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