U.K. to Rehabilitate ex-ISIS Fighters With 'Good Intentions'

Former foreign secretary says reformed jihadists could dissuade others from fighting in Iraq and Syria.

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Islamic State fighters in Syria.
Islamic State fighters in Syria.Credit: AP

If jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria "have good intentions" about preventing others from fighting overseas, the British government will help them recover, Conservative politician William Hague said.

Hague, the former foreign secretary, told a BBC interviewer that returning fighters who have renounced jihad “just need help because they will have been through an extremely traumatic period” fighting overseas.

He also said that those fighters who come home disillusioned with jihad could be used to dissuade others from going to Iraq and Syria.

“We haven’t had a lot of people coming back yet and saying they want to be of assistance, but if they do of course the government, the police, the National Health Service will work with those people and help them to recover and to assist others,” he said, according to British media.

“Our top priority has to be the security of the people of this country and that is why we will take action. Where we think people could be dangerous, we confiscate passports," he said.

Hague noted there have been more than 200 arrests this year related to Britons going to Iraq and Syria.

“But the Home Office and the police and the NHS are also working together on what we can do to assist those people who do come back with good intentions," Hague said. "Of course, we will have to be sure that they do have good intentions.”

Initially the British government had considered banning jihadists from returning home, but shelved that idea after determining it would be illegal.

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