European countries are making progress to hold individuals and corporations accountable for their crimes in the Syrian conflict.
Emma Broches is a J.D. candidate at Harvard Law School. She previously conducted research on Syria as a Fullbright Fellow in Jordan and worked with the Syrian Civil Defense. She holds a B.A. in History from Amherst College.
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The U.S. withdrawal from northern Syria and the subsequent Turkish invasion of the region has brought new urgency to the question of how to handle the foreign fighters who are now detained in Syria and Iraq.
President Trump’s sudden announcement that the U.S. would withdraw forces from along the Syria-Turkey border has already had dramatic consequences.
While the conflict has subsided in most areas of Syria after nearly eight years of war, violence has escalated in the northwestern part of the country. The Idlib region is the last remaining area held by anti-regime forces and part of a demilitarized zone created in an agreement between Russia and Turkey in September 2018.
In the past few months, prosecutors have tried, juries have convicted, and judges have sentenced defendants from the height of the Islamic State’s power in 2014–15. Meanwhile, American law enforcement continues to prosecute individuals involved in terrorist-related crimes in the United States, even as new challenges—like prosecuting foreign Islamic State fighters—arise.
After more than seven and a half years of death and destruction, there is a sense that the Syrian war is coming to an end.