Trump Demands Europe 'Takes Back' and Jails 800 Captured ISIS Fighters
President urges European allies UK, France, Germany to put Syrian prisoners on trial
US President Donald Trump has demanded that European allies - the UK, France, and Germany - must "take back" and jail up to 800 ISIS fighter captured in Syria by the United States.
"The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial," Trump tweeted late Saturday.
"The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them."
The president continued: "The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go.
"We do so much, and spend so much - Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!"
The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial. The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them........— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019
....The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go. We do so much, and spend so much - Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019
According to the Daily Mail, President Trump is referring to the "800 foreign terrorist fighters" that are now being held by the American-backed, Kurdish-dominated Syria Democratic Forces.
The ISIS members come from "over 40 countries," the Pentagon told CNN earlier this month.
Many of these ISIS fighters come from European countries, and the Kurdish-led SDF wants these nations to take their nationals off their hands.
But with American forces about to withdraw from Syria, there are concerns as to what will happen to these detainees if Turkey - as expected - attacks Kurdish-held areas.
American officials have asked the Europeans to repatriate the citizens that are being held in detention in Syria.
But these governments have been hesitant to do so because of the limited evidence they have to use in a court of law proving their membership in ISIS.
It comes as the UK Government remains divided on what to do with the east London teenage ISIS bride hoping to return to Britain after falling pregnant for the third time.
Shamima Begum, of Bethnal Green, says she doesn't regret her time in the Caliphate but wants to come home to bring up her child.
The Trump administration is warning that repatriating ISIS members without putting them on trial would lead to a surge in attacks.
European governments are internally divided over what to do with suspected ISIS jihadis and their relatives who are returning from the battlefield.
The British government is being urged to allow a pregnant teenager who ran away from home to join ISIS to return to the United Kingdom.
Shamima Begum’s family issued a statement appealing for government assistance "as a matter of urgency."
Begum, now 19, resurfaced this week at a refugee camp in Syria where she gave an interview to the Times of London saying she didn’t regret her decision but wanted to come home.
"Given Shamima’s four-year ordeal, we are concerned that her mental health has been affected by everything that she has seen and endured," the family said in a statement to Britain’s ITV, describing her words as those of child who had been groomed by ISIS recruiters.
Begum was one of a group of schoolgirls from London’s Bethnal Green neighborhood who went to Syria to marry ISIS fighters in 2015 at a time when the group’s online recruitment program lured many impressionable young people to its self-proclaimed caliphate.
Her comments raise larger questions about how Western societies will deal with others who joined ISIS but want to return to their home countries now that the extremist group is on the verge of collapse.
Though it is unclear whether Begum has committed any crime, her apparent lack of remorse has triggered criticism from many who believe her decision makes her a permanent pariah in Britain.
The head of Britain’s MI6 security service, Alex Younger, has warned that Britons returning from ISIS-held territory are likely to have acquired "potentially very dangerous" skills and connections.
Though he didn’t comment on the Begum case, Younger said that while U.K. nationals have a "right" to come home, public safety was the first priority.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid told the Times he "will not hesitate" to prevent the return of Britons who "supported terrorist organizations abroad."
But others have appealed for mercy, noting Begum’s age when she fled.
Though the family said they were "shocked" by her comments, they said she should "be returned to the U.K. and be dealt with under the British justice system."
"The welfare of Shamima’s unborn baby is of paramount concern to our family, and we will do everything within our power to protect that baby who is entirely blameless in these events," they said in the statement.
"Shamima’s child who will also be British has every right as a total innocent to have the chance to grow up in the peace and security of this home."