Austin Doctor is the director of counterterrorism research initiatives at the National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education (NCITE) Center, and an assistant professor of political science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Articles & Testimony
An in-depth update on Washington's complicated but crucial efforts to repatriate fighters and their families from northeast Syria and other hotspots.
Today, an estimated 10,000 male foreign terrorist fighters remain held in northeastern Syria, including 2,000 men and boys from 60 countries outside Syria and Iraq (third country nationals, or TCNs). In addition, local camps hold close to 55,000 female FTF and FTF-affiliated family members, including roughly 10,000 TCN women and children. Some of these individuals have now been in detention for four years or more. The indefinite detention of such individuals in northeastern Syria is not a tenable solution. In addition to clear humanitarian concerns, there is a significant security risk that the facilities’ inhabitants provide a groundswell of recruits to the still active ISIS campaign in the region. A 2022 U.S. military report puts it bluntly, “These children in the camp are prime targets for ISIS radicalization. The international community must work together to remove these children from this environment by repatriating them to their countries or communities of origin while improving conditions in the camp”...