The fate of two "Isis brides" has stirred fierce emotions and uncertainty about what happens to captured foreign militants and their families once the group's caliphate collapses.
The US and UK governments have stripped Hoda Muthana, 24, and Shamima Begum, 19, of citizenship.
Having rejected the countries where they were born and raised in favour of a murderous cult, the two women have been rejected by their homelands in turn, essentially being left stateless in Kurdish-run refugee camps in Syria.
Kurdish SDF fighters are trying to erase the final dot of Isis territory. The Islamic State once covered large areas of Syria and Iraq, where militants terrorised locals, killing and enslaving thousands. Now the caliphate is down to the town of Baghouz.
What appears to be a crushing moment is a messy, risky situation. It's a conflict's end no one wants to deal with.
The US has been backing the SDF in controlling the eastern third of Syria. Washington's plan to pull out by April left the SDF under threat of annihilation from Turkey, and a power vacuum the Syrian regime, Russia and Iran would fill.
The US now says 400 of 2000 US troops will stay. Britain and France had refused a US request to fill the troop gap if the US was fully withdrawing.
The rethink offers hope that the power balance can stay stable and that Isis won't just rebound. Thousands of Isis fighters are in the region.
And what to do with 800 captured foreign Isis fighters? US President Donald Trump has pushed European allies to repatriate them — even as he has refused to repatriate Muthana. He tweeted that they should be put on trial: "The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them." European countries worry courts won't be able to sentence militants because of insufficient evidence.
Yesterday the SDF handed 150 Isis fighters to Iraq.
The cases of Muthana and Begum have raised thorny questions over citizenship.
While the rejection of two Isis enablers pleading for a second chance would be greeted with "good riddance" by many, the US and UK have refused to take ownership of their own — who shouldn't be the responsibility of countries damaged by Isis.
Both decisions are being contested. The US decision rests on whether Muthana's father was still a diplomat when she was born.
The women could have been returned and assessed for trial. It would have been a chance for deradicalisation, to show some compassion, get them talking to at-risk groups about differences between expectations and reality in the caliphate.
The UK Home Secretary can strip dual nationals of citizenship. Begum, who was only 15 when radicalised, has Bangladeshi heritage. But that creates a two-tier system, with uncertainty for those foreign born or of foreign heritage. One person who still has UK citizenship is Asma al-Assad, the British-Syrian wife of the dictator.
The people most deserving of sympathy in all this are the Syrians and Iraqis who lived through the nightmare of the caliphate.