During the height of ISIS reign in Syria and Iraq, thousands of people from around the world were recruited to go to Syria and join the cause. Much of this recruitment happened online with promises of a life with a higher purpose and dreams of a religious paradise. Many of those recruited were young, impressionable, and naive. The reality they encountered upon arrival in Syria was vastly different from the fantasy they were sold. Especially for the women.
THE RETURN offers an intimate, up-close-and-personal portrait of the young women who were seduced to leave the west and devote their lives to ISIS. After the fall of ISIS in 2017, these women along with other families of ISIS fighters were placed in Prison Camp Roj in Syria, where they languish in limbo, stateless to this day. With unfettered access, director Alba Sotorra Clua and her team allow these women to tell their own stories for the first time. Among them, probably the most famous British recruit Shamima Begum, who fled the country when she was 15, and Hoda Muthana from USA who allegedly incited her followers on Twitter to support the Islamic State. Reviled in their own countries and barred from returning home, they speak of tragedy, regret, and their hope to one day be allowed to start over.
Presenting these women with humanity and dignity, THE RETURN: LIFE AFTER ISIS strives for understanding and compassion in the face of an unforgivable past.