Donald Trump has asked his European allies to take charge of the citizens of their respective countries who fought with the Islamic State (ISIS) and were seized by US-backed forces in Syria and Iraq. Otherwise, the president warned, they would be forced to release them.
“The United States is asking the United Kingdom, France, Germany and other European allies to recover the more than 800 fighters of the Islamic State that we captured in Syria and judge them. The caliphate is about to fall. The alternative is not good because we will be forced to liberate them.
The United States does not want to see how those fighters of the Islamic State permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go. We do so much and spend so much, it is time for others to move forward and do the work they are very capable of doing. We’re leaving after a 100% victory to the caliphate! “Trump wrote in two Twitter messages this Saturday night.
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) 17 February 2019
During the last session of the Munich Security Conference, which has brought together leaders and experts from around the world since Friday, the American envoy to Syria, James Franklin Jeffrey, has announced that the fight against Islamists in Syria’s north-east could come to an end in the next few hours. “The defeat of the Islamic State is about to end,” said Jeffrey, who estimated it could be a matter of “about a day” before “the battle against the Islamic State is over.”
The end is near, at least in territorial terms, of the self-styled caliphate. Hundreds of jihadists surrender to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), including those European citizens who joined the Islamic State. US officials estimate that there are about 800 prisoners from four dozen countries in prisons run by their Kurdish allies. The Kurdish forces, which the US withdrawal leaves vulnerable to a Turkish offensive, do not want to indefinitely take charge of them and the US prefers that the countries of origin of the jihadists assume responsibility.
But the repatriation of these people who swore loyalty to a group whose goal is to destroy the West poses problems in some European states. So far France has said it is ready to repatriate its jihadists, but the UK has been more reluctant, according to The Guardian, among other things because of the difficulty of prosecuting them and preventing them from committing terrorist acts in their territory.
About a thousand German jihadists have traveled to Syria in the last six years and official estimates indicate that almost a third would have returned. The newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung cited information from the SDS, according to which about two dozen German jihadists, some with minors, would be in the custody of the democratic forces.
Abdel Karim Omar, the spokesman for the SDS, the group that has fought the Islamic State in the north under the US umbrella, welcomed Trump’s request for foreign jihadists who traveled to Syria attracted by the Caliphate reverie. “It’s a burden that we can not assume. We fight against terrorism and foreign jihadists and their families must pass into the hands of the international community, “he told the German news agency DPA.
Jeffrey, the US envoy to Syria, tried at the Munich Security conference to calm the allies, saying that Syria will not be an “abrupt” withdrawal, and predicted an imminent defeat of the Islamic State in its last redoubt of the self-styled caliphate. Washington announced at the end of last year the withdrawal of its troops from Syria, deployed since 2014. Currently, 2,000 US soldiers are in the country that is already in its eighth year of the war.
The jihadists resist in a redoubt of northeastern Syria, besieged by the Kurdish-Arab forces and the international coalition. “The civilians who have escaped say that the Islamic State is using them as human shields,” a spokesman for the international coalition told Agence France Presse. Apart from the caliphate, the jihadist threat is still present in Syria through “dormant cells,” recalled Jeffrey in Munich.
The US envoy considered the Syrian conflict, “extremely dangerous” for global security and accused the regime of Bashar al-Assad of the humanitarian tragedy that is going through the country. “The Government of Damascus is the reason why its population prefers to die of hunger in a refugee camp if necessary, We ask for a radical change in the behavior of the regime,” said the diplomat, who said he had not seen a situation. so serious in the area since 1973.