Foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) are individuals who leave home to fight in foreign wars, usually employed by fairly well-known terrorist groups or VEOs (Violent Extremist Organizations). These individuals originate from 90 different countries, even from countries that had no prior history in employing their own citizens in foreign war zones. According to relevant researches, at the start of 2016, the number of individuals who have travelled to Iraq and Syria to take part in the conflict, on the side of rebel or terrorist groups as “foreign fighters” reached over 42,000 individuals, and almost one third originate from member-states of the European Union (out of which 155 from our country). This departure reached its peak between 2011 and 2016, and from 2015 this number is declining because of their return (5,000 of them returned to Europe, out of which 110 to our country) as well because the collapse of the ISIS governance structures and territorial hold. There is an international concern for the probability of their renewed employment in violent activities, including terrorism. The reasons for their return differ. Some FTF may be disappointed; others may have run away. Others may have been caught and returned against their will. Some of them may intend to continue the battles on European soil. Undoubtedly, returnees come from different nationalities, ethnicities, ages and genders. Expectedly, they all suffer from different levels of trauma and emotional/psychological problems (Hedayah 2016; RAN 2016; RAN 2017). Currently, there are 13 convicted individuals serving a prison sentence in the Republic of North Macedonia. Only 3 of them are not FTFs returnees, meaning they were not at the frontline in Syria and Iraq, but were convicted for recruiting, financing and enabling the departure of the volunteer fighters. Additionally, one other person is in detention prison.
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