thousands have joined the battles in Syria from Europe, North Africa and some Asian countries
they have arrived to fight Assad and have found themselves the last month fighting against other rebel groups or suppressing local 'liberated) populations who didn't want to change the Assad dictatorship by an Islamic one
this looks like the war in Span where Anarchists and communists and other fractions where sometimes more killing each other than Franco who was supported by the nazi's (while the west looked on and didn't send much military support to the democratic forces - leaving them to be manipulated by Moscow who was more interested with killing anarchists than beating the Nazi's)
and now what ?
hundreds to thousands are trying to escape to Turkey and come home but if what should we do with them ?
should we all send them to prison or some re-education camp ? Telling what ? That the west had very good reasons not to intervene and let Assad slaughter people as he pleases and that arming the populations and democratic resistance fighters would only have increased the slaughter ?
you can't be sure that there are sleepers among them but does make this them all hardened terrorists that will never change ? If we say that, than we are saying that people never change and that if they were a danger, they will be a danger for ever and than we shouldn't liberate any rapists or murderers even because if a 'soldier' can't change than they can't either. If we are saying this than we are saying in fact that soldiers who fought in a war will never become normal and will always stay violent beings and should just keep on fighting somewhere and not being allowed back home
because this is what we are saying now
taking such a general view and treating them all in the same way in fact closes more doors to 'repatriation' and 'rehabilitation' than to end the war. Because if you are there in Syria and you want to come back to Britain for example because you don't believe that the ISIS or who-ever is the solution to the situation and that you have made the biggest mistake of you Young life, would you go back if you are facing years of prison ? You would just fight on or go to another fight that you find more worthy of your life.
you can read any anti-guerilla manual and you will always find the same thing coming back time after time, the most effective underminers of a movement are people who were part of that movement before and have become disillusioned and that creating dissent in the movement is the start of its downfall - every time
source (rest is paywall) http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/National/jihadists/article1467447.ece