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6/9/2023 Syria (International Christian Concern)U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called upon the international community to take an active role in repatriating ISIS fighters who remain in prisons and camps in northeast Syria. The latest call came at the Global Coalition to Defeat Islamic State gathering hosted in Riyadh this week.   

The call follows several alarms of the growing risks presented by the tens of thousands of captured ISIS fighters. In addition, thousands of women and children are detained in the country. The prisons and camps pose humanitarian and security risks to Iraq, Syria, and the rest of the world. Northeast Syria’s infamous al-Hol camp holds thousands of ISIS fighters, along with approximately 50,000 women and children from all over the world.   

Following the Islamic State’s final territorial defeat in Syria in 2019, the Kurdish-led Self Administration in northeast Syria has been operating these camps and prisons. Education and services are inadequate, and children are at risk of further radicalization the longer they remain in limbo. Failure to address these former ISIS members’ security and humanitarian issues could result in the radicalization of a new generation of terrorists. The Islamic State committed genocide against several religious minorities in the Middle East in the past decade, including against Iraq’s and Syria’s Christians through displacement, killings, and systematic destruction of cultural and religious sites.  

Last year, the U.S.-led military coalition for the defeat of ISIS in Syria issued an urgent call for the rapid repatriation of former ISIS members to their countries of origin. That way the terrorists could be prosecuted for their crimes and it would deradicalize and reintegrate children into their societies. Despite losing its territory in the Middle East, the Islamic State’s various branches remain active through sleeper cells in the Middle East, several parts of Africa, and Afghanistan.

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