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8 Apr, 2019 11:09

I just want to go home, serve time in jail and go on with my life – ex-ISIS fighter to RT

I just want to go home, serve time in jail and go on with my life – ex-ISIS fighter to RT

With Islamic State defeated, European countries are facing a conundrum over citizens who left to join the terrorist organization and are now held in captivity in Iraq and Syria. RT spoke to some of them.

An estimated 5,000 foreign fighters from European nations went to join Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) between 2011 and 2016. France, Germany, the UK, and Belgium were the biggest contributors. Some of these people, as well as those who went to Iraq and Syria to become civilians in the would-be ‘caliphate’, are now stuck in legal limbo.

Their home countries are reluctant to take them back, considering their record of fighting for a terrorist organization that committed numerous atrocities in the Middle East and staged deadly attacks in Europe.

Also on rt.com But they are dangerous! Europe reluctant to ‘take back’ ISIS fighters as Trump demands

RT’s Ruptly video agency spoke to some of the Europeans currently held by the Syrian Democratic Forces in a camp near Qamishli in Syria’s Kurdish region of Jazira.

One of them was Dutch citizen Yakhoci Riedijk, who said his decision to join IS brought him misery, suffering, an accusation of being a Dutch spy from the jihadist leaders, and now detention with a total lack of certainty about his future.

“I wish to return home, spend the due time in jail, then go back to normal life with my wife, with no troubles, no wars and no poverty,” he said.

German citizen Lukas Glass is in the same situation. A former IS sympathizer, he says he served as a policeman in Raqqa when the city served as the terrorist group’s de facto capital in Syria. Glass said he has little hope for being allowed to return to Germany: “Nobody wants us. After these crimes committed by IS, nobody wants us. I don’t blame them,” he said.

Martin Lemke, another German man and former IS fighter, said joining the terrorists was “the biggest mistake” of his life.

Watch the full report to learn more.

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