Is America’s most notorious ISIS mother on her way home? The US government went to court to prevent Hoda Muthana from forcing an expedited review of her request to return, winning in March. Now, however, CBS and Military Times report that two unnamed American ISIS brides and their combined six children have been repatriated this week — at the request of the Trump administration:
Kurdish authorities in northern Syria have transferred eight U.S. women and children who were captured with the Islamic State group back to America, Kurdish officials said Wednesday.
Abdulkarim Omar, a senior official in the Kurdish self-rule administration, said the group includes two women and six children. He said they were returned at the request of the U.S. government and based on their own desire to return “without any pressure or coercion.”
Omar didn’t identify the women and children involved, and there was no immediate confirmation or comment from U.S. officials. It was not clear when they left Syria, who they were handed over to, or where in the U.S. they will be taken. It is the second such repatriation of U.S. nationals from Syria. Earlier this year, a woman and four children were returned to the U.S.
The release of these eight US citizens, Kurdish forces announced, were “humanitarian” in nature. The Kurds running the refugee camps will not release women who took a more active role in ISIS’ depredations, whether as fighters or more commonly enforcers of ISIS’ domestic tyranny. With thousands of refugees in the camps, the Kurds have a long backlog of determinations to make.
So far, there’s no word on the identities of any of the three women. The Telegraph reports that Muthana’s not among them, however:
The identity of the two American women was not immediately clear, however the Telegraph understands that New Jersey-born Hoda Muthana, who was discovered in the camps with her infant son in February is not among them.
That makes some sense, although Muthana’s the biggest cause celebre among the ISIS brides. The Trump administration is challenging her status as a US citizen, which looks a bit like a losing battle. Even the judge who ruled in the administration’s favor over the emergency request commented that Muthana’s attorney made a “valid argument” on citizenship. The administration countered that observation in late April by moving to dismiss Muthana’s case altogether, but there hasn’t been any reported developments since then.
So who are these three women, and what were they doing in Syria in the first place? The discussion in CBS’ coverage is surprisingly skeptical of repatriation, at least not without getting some solid answers to those questions. They may be American citizens, but they went to join an enemy that was explicitly conducting a radical-Islamist terror war against the US — and in Muthana’s case at least, attempting to foment attacks here at home. Their identities shouldn’t be kept secret; they should be identified publicly and their crimes discussed in detail.