US women, children who lived under ISIS transferred to America from Syria

Orient Net - abc 2019-06-06 08:25:00

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The US has now repatriated more than a dozen of its citizens who were captured with ISIS, but the challenge of what to do with foreign fighters, their wives and children has vexed Western governments who fear a resurgence of the terror group and local officials who say they are struggling to detain so many ISIS adherents.

"We can confirm that several US citizens, including young children, have been safely recovered from Syria, and we are assisting them with repatriation to the United States," a State Department official told ABC News, adding, "The safety and security of US citizens is our highest priority."

The group consisted of two women and six children, a Kurdish official in northern Syria told the Associated Press. The official said they were returned at the request of the US government and based on their own desire to return "without any pressure or coercion."

While the State Department declined to comment further, it appears these individuals will not be prosecuted. The statement did not refer to any ISIS affiliation or refer to the group as "terrorists."

That is a sharp contrast to the case of American-born Hoda Muthana, a so-called ISIS bride. She requested to return to the U.S. in February, but the State Department said that she was not a citizen because of her father's diplomatic status at the time of her birth.

"This is a woman who inflicted enormous risk on American soldiers, on American citizens. She's a terrorist. She's not coming back," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox Business Network in February.

Muthana filed a lawsuit to assert her citizenship and that case is still pending. Her father told ABC News on Wednesday that she remains in a detention camp with other women inside Syria.

The Trump administration has consistently called on all countries to accept the return of their foreign terrorist fighters and then prosecute or otherwise punish them. But the issue of what to do with women who joined ISIS and, in particular children brought to Iraq and Syria or born into the so-called caliphate, has been more difficult.