Nobody is quite sure what to do with foreign ISIS fighters who are imprisoned or detained in Syria, in refugee camps in Syria, and are willing to come home. The war in Syria is almost over and the EU and US are now facing extremists who may be repatriated.
One such ISIS fighter, Hoda Muthana was originally from Alabama, USA. She became popular as an online agitator for ISIS. She has been interviewed by The Guardian and has stated that she regrets her choices, was brainwashed and radicalized and now wants to come home.
Robert Palladino, a spokesman for the State Department, said that the process is complicated and discussions are underway. The status of the US citizens, held in Syria, is a tricky one and they need to understand the details.
“Repatriating these foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin, ensuring that they are prosecuted and detained — that’s the best solution, preventing them from returning to the battlefield,” he said.
President Donald Trump has plans to bring home the last remaining US troops. Initially, he was planning a unilateral move but is now working with the EU and allies that have troops in Syria.
It will not only be the troops coming home, there is a high possibility of foreign nationals, ISIS fighters, who will be sent home or will make their own way home.
According to the US government, prosecution and detention are the best solutions for these fighters, as the alternatives could be a return to the battlefield.
Hoda Muthana has not yet been interviewed by the US government. Her lawyer, Hassan Shibly, is dismayed about this.
“It’s really problematic that The (New York) Times, The Guardian and ABC News have all been able to meet with her and interview her, and the government has not been able to do that,” Shibly said.
Guantanamo Bay was closed after much controversy, but Trump has been contemplating to reopen the military base in order to take in the American jihadis.
Trump has advised Britain and the EU countries to work hard at bringing home and prosecuting their ISIS fighters. Britain has had similar quandaries over what to do and how to do it, with constant debates between the military and politicians.
Muthana left her family in America to join ISIS in Syria, in 2014. She then used social media platforms to urge fellow Americans to do the same. During her time in Syria, she was married to jihadis, three times, and has one child.
She has apologised, saying she was young and ignorant and has urged the American government to give her a second chance.