As Islamic State (IS) loses control of its so-called Caliphate, the question on what to do with foreign fighters and their families has become more pertinent. The announcement of the US withdrawal from Syria in December, as well as Trump’s tweets mid-February that the US would release 800 fighters captured in Syria if its allies would not take them back, has led to even more urgency. The recent situation of Shamima Begum gave a face to the numbers.
The exact scope of those numbers, however, remains unclear. In a recent interview, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesperson Kino Gabriel stated that Trump’s number of 800 concerned old information and that he estimated they were holding about 1500 fighters and more than 3000 family members in Syria. However, Human Rights Watch indicated that 1000 women and 2000 children were detained in Iraq, Syria and Libya combined. In Iraq, some 1000 foreign fighters are reportedly being held in detention. It is not known how many of the women were actively part of IS and enabling its atrocities, or ‘merely’ the wives of IS fighters. Most of the young children were born in the so-called Caliphate and are under the age of six years, with reports indicating that up to 75% of the Dutch and Belgian children currently in the region were born in Iraq and Syria.
Lees verder via icct.nl