Islamic State: Who is taking back foreigners who joined?

Islamic State: Who’s taking again foreigners who joined?

Blindfolded IS fightersPicture copyright
Getty Photographs

Picture caption

Suspected IS fighters captured in Syria earlier this yr

As United States forces withdraw from their positions in northern Syria, and Turkish forces transfer in, the destiny of 1000’s of Islamic State group prisoners stays unclear.

The detainees and their households – held by Kurdish-led forces – embrace foreigners from varied elements of the world.

The US has known as on international states to repatriate their nationals, accusing European nations of failing to take action.

President Trump


The US has pressed France, Germany, and different European nations to take again captured IS fighters, however they didn’t need them and refused.

So, what number of international nationals are being held by Kurdish-led forces and have any nations taken them again?

Islamic State group prisoners are being held in quite a lot of camps in northern Syria.

By far the most important is at al-Hol, with 70,000 individuals, greater than 90% of them ladies and youngsters, of whom 11,000 are international nationals.

Moreover, some 12,000 suspected IS fighters are held in seven prisons in north-east Syria, of whom about 4,000 are estimated by Human Rights Watch to be foreigners (that’s, neither Syrian nor Iraqi).

A US authorities report revealed in August has a lower figure for foreign adult combatants held in northern Syria – 2,000, originating from 50 countries.

Of those, about 800 are from European nations whereas the remaining are from the Center East, north Africa or Asia.

To place that into context, a research final yr by King’s Faculty’s Worldwide Centre for the Examine of Radicalisation estimated more than 41,000 foreign nationals had joined IS in Iraq and Syria between April 2013 and June 2018.

Has anybody taken again their nationals?

The United Nations has stated nations ought to take accountability for his or her residents and take them again if not charged.

Many nations have been reluctant to take action, fearful about public opinion and the authorized challenges of coping with residents who joined IS.

Human Rights Watch has described government-facilitated repatriations of international nationals as “piecemeal.”

It says greater than 1,200 international nationals – primarily kids – have been repatriated from both Syria and Iraq to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Russia, Kosovo, and Turkey.

Picture copyright
Getty Photographs

However different nations have taken again solely very small numbers:

  • France: 18 kids
  • US: 16 adults and youngsters
  • Germany: fewer than 10
  • Australia: eight kids
  • Sweden: seven kids
  • Norway: 5 kids

In some instances, international nationals have been transferred to Iraqi jurisdiction and tried in that nation’s courts. Earlier this yr, 4 Frenchmen have been sentenced to loss of life in Iraq in a judicial course of closely criticised on the time.

Some international governments have revoked citizenship to forestall a return – for instance within the case of Shamima Begum, from the UK, who’s being held in a camp in Syria.

Far bigger numbers of foreigners who joined IS are more likely to have made their very own manner residence earlier than the autumn of the group this yr.

Returning European nationals

Voluntary and state-facilited returns

King’s Faculty’s Worldwide Centre for the Examine of Radicalisation estimates the numbers globally to be between 7,712 and eight,202.

This consists of each voluntary returns in addition to government-facilitated repatriations, though it provides the latter are more likely to be minimal.

Joanna Prepare dinner and Gina Vale, co-authors of the research, advised BBC Information: “Many governments seem extra keen to facilitate the return of minors, notably weak ones like orphans, than the return of grownup detainees.”

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