About 1,150 individuals left Germany and traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS and other terrorist groups. Germany has conducted various repatriation operations bringing back ISIS-affiliated women and minors though many male fighters remain in Syria and Iraq. According to a recent report published by the Counter Extremism Project, at least 7 women and 22 children remain in the Al-Roj camp, with 2 German women also present in the Al-Howl camp in Northeast Syria.
The Bulan Institute interviewed Ms. Sofia Koller, a Senior Research Analyst at the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) in Germany. She conducted extensive research on the state approaches in EU countries toward former fighters and their family members. From June 2018 to December 2021, Sofia Koller was a research fellow for counterterrorism and the prevention of violent extremism as well as project leader of the International Forum for Expert Exchange on Countering Islamist Extremism. She studied international relations and management at the University of Applied Sciences Regensburg and the German-Jordanian University in Amman as well as international conflict studies at the War Studies Department at King’s College London.