Syrian Kurdish fighters scored a major victory against the Islamic State when they captured the border town of Tal Abyad on June 15. But now Syria and Turkey face appeals from ISIS fighters who want to receive amnesty in their home countries.
“I’ve no idea where to go,” explained one man. “They will imprison me if I go back to Kurdistan and if I return to Daesh I could be executed for treason.”
In December, the group executed over 120 of its members because they attempted to return home. Rights group believe the militants killed at least 116 foreign fighters.
This man, along with a few friends, disguised themselves as refugees after the seizure. He was one of many Rudaw interviewed in Urfa, a border town in Turkey. Relatives from Europe swarmed into the area to rescue family members.
“I’ve come here to find my brother and take him back to Germany,” declared a German man. “I saw my brother handcuffed on YouTube in YPG custody. I can show them his many e-mails in which he clearly expresses that he wants to come back home to Germany if he’s not charged.”
The poor “refugees” vow to return to ISIS.
“They told me to fight in Tal Abyad,” said a young man originally from Mosul, Iraq. “But the fight was too heavy, so I came here as a refugee and will be back again soon.”
But those who do want to go home may not have an easy route. Australia, which has as many as 70 nationals within the terrorist group, told their citizens they will face harsh punishment for their crimes.
“Crime is crime is crime, and criminals will face the full severity of Australian law, whether they’re male or female,” said Prime Minister Tony Abbott. “I’m afraid you don’t get off scot-free just because you say, ‘I’ve seen the error of my ways.’”