Dr Kamal Habib
Recent statements by French Justice Minister, Nicole Belloubet, about the need for returning French terrorists in the custody of the Kurds in northern Syria to their country have stirred up debates.
The statements refer to a radical change in the French position toward ISIS fighters at detention centers and camps in Syria.
The French government had always turned down American requests for European states to allow their nationals who had fought within terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria to return home for trial.
Belloubet used to consider these fighters as enemies of the French nation, having fought within the most brutal terrorist organization in the world.
France was of the view that terrorists should be tried in the countries where they fought. It also called for setting up an international court in Iraq that tries European terrorists.
Nevertheless, the US withdrawal from northern Syria, the Turkish invasion of the same area and the failure of Kurdish troops in guarding the detention camps of terrorists have led to a change in the French position.
France does not want its nationals held in these camps to escape, using the state of security chaos in the area. Some ISIS terrorists have already escaped the detention centers in northern Syria.
When they escape, these terrorists usually go to other battlegrounds, especially in Africa where France also fights ISIS in Mali, Lake Chad and the Sahel and Sahara countries.
The ongoing showdown between Iran and the US against the background of the killing of the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, has forced the US to focus more on the security of its troops in Iraq.
Some of the member states of the US-led coalition against ISIS, such as Germany, are also taking their troops back.
The thing is that the Iraqi army cannot fight ISIS alone. The army does not have either the military means or the information necessary for countering such a terrorist organization.
The organization has launched a series of attacks on Iraqi troops in the joint Iraqi-Syrian border.
France opening the door
Around 600 French nationals fought within ISIS in Iraq and Syria, according to Belloubet.
The new French attitude toward these ISIS fighters will probably encourage other European states to do the same in the coming period.
The return of foreign fighters to their countries will prevent these fighters from entering Europe unnoticed or even go to other countries to join terrorist groups in them.