In mid-2018, A United Nations Report revealed a disturbing figure pertaining to the number of women and children traveling to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State (ISIS). The United Nations Security Council, findings indicate that an alarming 25% of foreigners that joined ISIS are women and children from over 80 countries across the globe.
While the numbers have reduced in the past year as the terror group loses ground both in Syria and Iraq, the women have been captured and put in refugee camps awaiting repartition to their countries. Despite Western nations being reluctant to take back the Jihadis arrested, several cases have hit international headlines as women and their children plead with their governments to allow them back.
Notably, are the cases of new mother ISIS Briton Shamima Begum and Hoda Muthana an American woman from Alabama known for her bloodcurdling incitement tweets from back in 2014. Some of the ISIS members seeking to return to their home countries have expressed remorse saying they were brainwashed and are willing to suffer the consequences. Others have shown little to no regret in joining ISIS and as such may pose a major threat to their home countries upon return.
It is evident that ISIS has lost ground seeing as an operation to the last villages held by the militants in Syria was launched last week and with a defeated group, foreign fighters are afraid to die or be left stranded in a foreign country. It is important to note that while most of them appear remorseful, intelligence reports indicate that some are returning home to activate and work with domestic cells already operational to further the ISIS agenda away from the Middle East.
Therefore, security agencies ought to erect policies and strategies that will first rehabilitate the formally radicalized people before integrating them into the society as well as monitor them to ensure that they do not cause domestic harm by engaging the terror activities. This is especially important seeing as major terror attacks globally have been conducted by foreign fighters that return home or had traveled to the war turf. While most anti-terror agencies have watch lists that closely monitor individuals suspected of having ties with a globally designated terror organization, the ISIS returnees need a more hands-on approach that will prevent the recurrence and regrouping of the lethal terror organization.