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The dilemma of captured Daesh fighters and abandoned children? Who is responsible?

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Donald Rumsfeld, the notorious former United States defence secretary, in describing his endless war on terror, once said: “We need a new vocabulary.” How would Rumsfeld, an advocate of the vague and sometimes absurd term “enemy combatant”, describe Daesh fighters, women and children trapped in legal limbo in Syria, Iraq and Libya? Known for his cruelty and trickery Rumsfeld might help western leaders, including his fellow Republican, President Donald Trump, with a new term to describe these women and children being held in miserable conditions in Al-Hawl refugee camp controlled, mainly, by US-backed Kurdish militia. Foreign fighters from all over the world number in thousands.

Western countries, including the US, United Kingdom and France have not been very helpful. At first they vowed not to take back any of their citizens who joined the Caliphate during its heydays. They even resorted to severe measures including revoking citizenships and suspending any rights such individuals and their families are entitled to under their respective national laws. Shamima Begum, a British teenager who fled to Syria and married Yago Riedijk, a Dutch Daesh fighter, ended up in the Al-Hawl refugee camp and quickly the UK government revoked her citizenship forcing her family into a complicated legal process of appeal against the government’s decision with little hope of ending her tragedy anytime soon. Yet the British authorities found it easier to provide her with legal aid to challenge the British Home Office’s decision to strip her of her citizenship. This seemingly........

© Middle East Monitor