When the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) first analyzed the thousands of leaked Islamic State personnel files, one thing that stuck out to the researchers was the 431 exit records. The first of these documents, dated March 1, 2013, notes that the fighter, Abu Yousef Al Maghribi, left the caliphate “to meet family and get treatment.” On the very last date in the dataset, August 21, 2014, there are actually four exit records. The reason given for the exit of three of these fighters was “treatment” and the fourth was due to the fact that “his family was imprisoned.”
Perhaps this last fighter was grateful to have been able to leave to help his family in need. Little did he know that had he only remained in the caliphate for another few months, he would be the prisoner.