Author: Oskar Schaefer
Institution: Leiden University (Netherlands)
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1504-8977
Published online: 30 June 2021
Final submission: 26 May 2021
Printed issue: December 2021
Source: Show
Page no: 7
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppsy202127
PDF: ppsy/50/ppsy202127.pdf

Following the fall of the so-called Islamic State in March 2019, tens of thousands of its fighters, along with their wives and children, were captured and detained in facilities controlled by Syrian Democratic Forces in northeast Syria. Many of which were European. Based on the information provided by scientific institutes and journalists, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic had had a significant impact on the functioning of those facilities. Not only did it aggravate an already severe humanitarian crisis, pushing the detainees to reinforce their attempts of escaping and rioting against the guards, but it also lowered the security level in the controlled facilities, allowing a flourishing of criminal activities. Furthermore, the detainment of ISIS followers turned into a political game between the Kurdish coalition and the United States. The global health crisis put to the test the strategy of many Western governments of keeping European ISIS fighters in the Middle East while pressuring the international community to rethink its approach towards this crescent problem.

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