Amid Syria Pullout, US Undecided What to Do With ISIS Detainees

Officials say sending detainees to Gitmo under consideration

US officials say that with the announcement of a withdrawal of US forces from Syria, there is still no specific plan in place for an estimated 790 detained ISIS fighters or relatives. Officials say they are scrambling to review different options on what to do with them.

Technically, the ISIS detainees are being held by the Kurdish YPG. US officials appear to believe they have to make plans for them before they leave, because the Kurds are liable to let them go in the face of a war with Turkey.

Realistically, the ones who are just relatives of ISIS members probably aren’t guilty of enough to warrant the US taking them outright. The Trump Administration is desperately trying to get foreign countries to take back their nationals. But they seem very set to keep some of them.

While the White House is denying comment so far, other officials say that among the possible plans is sending the “most dangerous” detainees to Guantanamo Bay. President Trump has been keen to add to the number being held there, and this might be an opportunity to do so.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.