A Minor threat? Discussion on the future of the children of jihadi fighters

There are major concerns surrounding the potential threat posed by “returnees”—those men, women, and children who only a few years ago left home to embrace a new life in the so called caliphate.

Venue: Auditorium 1, ESH

Faced with a crumbling dream and a harsh reality, those same travelers have begun to consider the possibility of returning to their homes while they still can. Thousands of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) have already left the conflict zone prior to ISIS’ military decline, and hundreds more have recently been detained. Not all IS fighters may be able to return to their home countries, however. Many will likely get killed while others may migrate further, to the group’s affiliates in Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, or the Philippines.

While there has been considerable research on ISIS and FTFs since 2013, there has been much less research focused on the fate of children in the region, and particularly the children of jihadi fighters (both foreign and local). A first major hindrance to research was access to data, since there is little information available on these children. However, some recent studies have gathered data from a variety of sources, offering a new basis for discussion, in line with the theme of the conference. Data drawn from journalistic accounts, ISIS social media, and data from rehabilitation centers has shed light on the social ecologies of the children and ways to possibly reintegrate them.

The aim of this roundtable will be to discuss the situation of the children of jihadi fighters in Syria/Iraq, focusing notably on the children of FTFs. Security concerns will be debated along with social concerns. The issue of their repatriation and care upon return will also be addressed with a discussion of some of the best practices from demobilization and reintegration programs relevant to Western countries.


  • Thomas Renard,  Egmont Institute 
  • Mia Bloom, Georgia University

Other Participants:

  • Kristian Warpinski, Department of Political Science,Georgia State University
  • Thomas Hegghammer, Norwegian Defense Research Establishment
  • Adam Hoffman, Tel Aviv University
  • Jeanine Roy van Zuijdewijn, Leiden University



Published Mar. 15, 2019 3:53 PM - Last modified June 17, 2019 3:15 PM