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From bad to worse: The fate of European foreign fighters and families detained in Syria, one year after the Turkish offensive

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Hundreds of European “foreign fighters” are still being held by Kurdish authorities, in Syria. Their fate remains uncertain, as European governments are unwilling to repatriate their citizens. Meanwhile, security and humanitarian conditions in the camps and detention facilities have significantly deteriorated over the past year, a trend further exacerbated by the COVID19 pandemic. This policy brief offers a summary of the main developments regarding Europeans detained in Syria, since the Turkish military offensive of October 2019. It offers a new compilation of figures for European adults and children detained, escaped or deported over the past year, before discussing the main policy options considered among European governments.

(Photo credit: Google Earth)