ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Germany says a new draft law will revoke citizens who join the Islamic State or other terror groups of their German citizenship.
On Monday, Eleonore Patermann, a spokesperson for Germany’s Interior Ministry, said the new legislation would only apply to cases in the future and not to those citizens who fought with the Islamic State in Syria or Iraq being held in Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) custody.
However, Patermann said she hopes the new law has a “preventative effect” because, in the future, anyone with dual nationality “who has taken part in combat operations for a terrorist militia will forfeit their German citizenship.”
Germany’s draft legislation is the latest effort by western governments to address the ongoing threat of terror, especially as the Islamic State’s military defeat is imminent. Foreign defense ministers have warned that the next battle against the extremist group is a war on its ideology to ensure a lasting defeat.
According to Germany’s domestic intelligence service, BfV, at least 1,050 German citizens left for Iraq and Syria at the height of the Islamic State’s emergence in 2013.
Among those, about 70 German Islamic State members are believed to be under arrest in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey, where a dozen of them hold dual nationality.
Related Article: Germany hints it could take back ISIS fighters in Syria
In early February, the United States called on countries to bring home thousands of Islamic State members which the US-backed SDF captured in Syria.
Some senior Syrian Kurdish officials say the number of captured Islamic State fighters has surpassed 1,500 after the recent offensive in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province.
US President Donald Trump renewed that call on Feb. 16 when he urged European allies to take back hundreds of Islamic State foreign fighters in the war-torn country.
So far, European states have been reluctant to bring back Islamic State fighters or women accused of membership in the extremist group and their children who are stuck in Syria.
Many EU countries fear that due to the lack of evidence, Islamic State supporters could be quickly released once they appear in court after returning home.
The United Kingdom has refused to take back their citizens who joined the Islamic State and has even stripped them of their citizenships.
France, meanwhile, has said Paris would deal with the Islamic State fighters on a “case-by-case” basis.