What We're Reading
July 2019 | Dr. Matthew Levitt
Dr. Matthew Levitt, member of the Research Advisory Council, shares what he is reading on foreign fighters.
"In December, President Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, sparking heated debate on what to do about ISIS foreign fighters detained by Kurdish-led forces. The President in February underscored this challenge, tweeting that European nations should repatriate and prosecute the European citizens detained by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SFD), adding that “the alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them.” My colleague Aaron Zelin and I wrote a piece about this at the time, “Repatriating Western Jihadists: The Impact of U.S. Syria Policy,” and since then I have been meeting with U.S. and European officials about the challenges of repatriating and prosecuting and reintegrating ISIS foreign fighters—and their families and orphaned children—into society. After a few trips to Europe this spring, I started digging into an array of studies and reports on this issue and also re-reading reports going back to 2014. Here is what I am reading on the conundrum of repatriating and prosecuting ISIS foreign fighters and their families."