Options for Dealing with Islamic State Foreign Fighters Currently Detained in Syria

The destruction of the Islamic State has left the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces holding thousands of foreign fighters who joined the Islamic State’s ranks from abroad as well as members of their families. What happens to these detainees will impact the continuing jihadi campaign in the Middle East and beyond, but legal constraints, fears of terrorism, already overburdened security forces, widespread public hostility toward Muslims in general, intensified by the barbaric behavior of the Islamic State, complicate discussions of what to do next.

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Karen Greenberg