Joana Cook and Gina Vale

From Daesh to ‘Diaspora’ II: The Challenges Posed by Women and Minors after the Fall of the Caliphate

International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation


The Islamic State has lost its final territory in Syria, but the international community now faces an array of complex and difficult challenges, in particular those related to the up to 52,808 foreigners now recorded by the authors with the group including up to 6,902 foreign women and up to 6,577 foreign minors. Of unique concern are the minors born to parents in the ‘caliphate’ established by the Islamic State who represent up to 60 percent of total minors currently accounted for in countries with strong data on this issue. Returning home to varied state responses, up to eight percent of the up to 8,202 returnees are now recorded as women, and up to 20 percent minors. Thousands more remain in limbo in the region, however, and significant gaps in the data leave this picture incomplete.

In this recently published study, Cook and Vale analyze an original dataset of persons recorded to have travelled to or been born in ISIS’ territorial Caliphate. The dataset comprises the most recent figures for Islamic State-affiliated travelers, returnees, detainees, and infants born abroad in Syria and Iraq. The authors focus on female and minor populations. They examine the challenges these groups pose to their countries of origin and/or return and discuss related inter-generational concerns.