On June 5th, eight Americans were quietly flown home from the former isis caliphate in Syria. The two women and six minors, whose identities were not disclosed, are now being resettled at unnamed locations with help from the U.S. government. They are not the first citizens of the Islamic State to return. Four other Americans—three men and a woman—await trials on various charges of aiding or abetting the world’s most notorious terrorist group. Three more agreed to plea deals; one has already served time and been released. A lone American opted for a trial and was sentenced to twenty years, although his case is under appeal.
They won’t be the last returnees, either. For months, the F.B.I. has been searching for Americans among the two thousand foreign fighters who surrendered or were captured on the battlefield. (After five years of war, the Islamic State finally collapsed on March 23th.) Another twenty or so Americans, including half a dozen fighters, have been identified, U.S. officials told me. Most were in prisons run by the Kurdish-led militia that defeated isisor detention camps for women and children. The U.S. intention is to bring them all home—eventually.