What to do with captured ISIS fighters?
One cannot blame the Turks for not wanting to be the world’s jailers for some of the most dangerous people on the planet.
When Turkish forces invaded northern Syria to push back Kurdish separatists, they captured some facilities in which the Kurds were holding Islamic State terrorist prisoners. Now, Turkey holds about 1,200 ISIS members, including some it had prior to the invasion of Syria.
Many of the terrorists are from outside the Middle East. Some are from the United States.
But the homelands of most of the ISIS members have refused to take them back. They would prefer that someone else has to deal with the problem.
On Nov. 11, Turkey deported an unspecified number of U.S. and Danish citizens who were captured while fighting for ISIS. Where the terrorists were sent has is unclear.
A number of countries have acted formally to sever relationships with their nationals who joined ISIS. Great Britain, for example, has revoked the citizenship of some of the terrorists.
U.S. officials did not comment immediately on Turkey’s action. No wonder. Enough controversy already surrounds Islamic terrorists captured by the United States and detained at our military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
But Islamic terrorism is a global threat. Surely we in the United States understand that.
Refusing to accept U.S. citizens who went abroad to fight with ISIS, al-Qaida or any other terrorist group is both irresponsible and, in the long run, dangerous. Leaving a large number of them in the custody of a foreign power risks them being freed, or escaping, and going right back to the terrorist ranks.
What to do with them here is a sticky problem. It is one that needs to be addressed, however, as an integral part of the campaign to keep Americans safe from vicious extremists who want nothing more than to kill as many of us as they can.