Interest in the issue of terrorist repatriation has returned to the forefront of media coverage in recent weeks, especially after Iraq tried and sentenced to death eleven French nationals who had joined ISIS, causing an eruption of angry official and popular reactions in France. The legal challenges of repatriation and trials for foreign fighters who fought with ISIS has become an international debate.
However, this issue also impacts the countries surrounding former ISIS territory, including Jordan. The official public position in Jordan—according to statements of officials and civil society institutions in local media—can be summarized as the assertion that dealing with these “terrorists” and their families is entirely a security and military matter, not a humanitarian one. There is near-consensus in Jordan, on both the official and the popular level, that the return of terrorist fighters from Syria is not welcome. This is driven by strong convictions—rooted in Jordan’s previous experiences with terrorist groups—that the rebirth of such groups would be inevitable were these fighters to return.
Experience has demonstrated that these individuals have been influenced by takfiri ideologies and have gained fighting and organizational experience over their years on the battlefield, making them a particularly dangerous element.