Tanya Mehra and Christophe Paulussen

The Repatriation of Foreign Fighters and Their Families: Options, Obligations, Morality and Long-Term Thinking

International Centre for Counter-Terrorism


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 President 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.