Thousands of foreign nationals who lived in ISIS-held territories are still stranded in Syria and Iraq, as they wait for their countries of origin to respond to their cases.
Following the defeat of ISIS in Syria in March of this year, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that over 12,000 captured ISIS fighters have come to the region from around 40 different countries around the world. The autonomous Kurdish government in Syria has demanded that countries repatriate their citizens who are now being held in the al-Hol Camp in the suburbs of Hasakah Province in northeast Syria.
While many countries have refused to take back ISIS militants and their families, others have shown their willingness to take back their fighters to prosecute the militants and rehabilitate their wives and children. According to the SDF, over 4,000 women and 8,000 children held in al-Hol are affiliated with ISIS militants.
As a result of this, many countries have made individual efforts to alleviate the problem.
Russia, which had around 4,500 nationals within the militant group, stated that it would continue repatriating its citizens and said that it has taken back 200 women and children in February of this year.
Other countries such as Kosovo, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have also announced their willingness to return the children and wives of ISIS militants currently held by the SDF in al-Hol Camp.
Belgium has announced that it is ready to take back children of ISIS militants under the age of 10 years if they have any documentation proving their families have Belgian roots. While other countries are expected to follow a similar path, many children born during ISIS’ rule do not have any documentation proving their origin. As a result, the Iraqi Government has announced that it will use all of the information that it can acquire about children of ISIS militants to issue IDs that will then encourage their countries of origin to take them.
On the other hand, many countries, including Turkey and Denmark, have stripped the passports of children whose parents are affiliated with the militant group.