As US withdrawal looms, France may repatriate 130 “jihadists,” suspected ISIS members from Syria

A report today says that France may take in “nearly 130 French prisoners in Syria and considered jihadists will be repatriated to France in the coming weeks.” The report indicates that after years in which these extremists had not only been left in Syria to commit war crimes but had been captured and France had not paid for them to be detained or taken responsibility to return them to France, that things are changing.

According to the report “Faced with Jean-Jacques Bourdin, the Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner assured that if they returned, these jihadists would be incarcerated.” He clarified “Some have already returned, we put them in prison, we know them, and those who come back will be put in prison.”

“All those who will return to France will be judiciarized and entrusted to the judges.When the judge will estimate that it will be necessary to put them in prison – and that will be the main case – they will be put in jail”, Christophe Castaner said this Tuesday on BFMTV.

The report indicated the following: “Près de 130 hommes et femmes détenus en Syrie et soupçonnés de jihadisme vont être rapatriés en France, dans les prochaines semaines, pour être jugés. C’est la première fois que la France organise un rapatriement aussi massif de jihadistes français depuis la Syrie. Selon nos informations, près de 130 hommes et femmes, soupçonnés d’avoir combattu ou d’avoir été en lien avec Daesh et détenus dans des camps en Syrie sous la surveillance des Kurdes, vont revenir dans les prochaines semaines en France.”

More than 5,000 EU citizens journeyed to join ISIS and many were implicated in the worst ISIS crimes, including genocide and sexual assault and slavery, ethnic-cleansing, and torture. But few have been charged with crimes. Many countries knew their citizens were traveling to Syria and Iraq and didn’t monitor them or send warnings ahead about their potential dangers. Then after these men had committed crimes and were captured in Iraq and Syria the same European countries whose courts sometimes have universal jurisdiction over other cases, said they didn’t want the criminals back. Some were even stripped of citizenship.

Now that the US is withdrawing from Syria there is concern that thousands of extremists and their families may go free or be transferred to the Syrian regime or Iraq. In many cases former ISIS members have lived in better circumstances in detention in Syria among the SDF than victims of ISIS who live in IDP camps and can’t even return to their villages in places like Sinjar. ISIS members often get more rights and international attention, sympathy, support, and access to media, than their victims. Most never face any trial. Unlike their victims who are denied the ability to go to Europe, many ISIS members may now receive a free flight back to their home country. Even though some countries claim they will incarcerate them, in many cases it will be for a short period and in prison in Europe they will enjoy more privileges and rights than many of their victims have in IDP camps.

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