Trump tells Europe to take back ISIS fighters, warns they could be released

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before departure from Elko Regional Airport in Elko, Nevada, U.S., October 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

 

In a series of tweets, President Donald Trump has said European countries should take back and put on trial hundreds of ISIS fighters who have been captured in Syria.

“Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing,” the US President tweeted late Saturday night.

He warned that as ISIS is “ready to fall,” more than 800 prisoners could make their way to Europe.

“The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them,” Trump tweeted.

“The US does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go.”

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

Trump’s comments come as the area that ISIS now controls has shrunk to just 700 square meters, a commander with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Saturday.

The SDF has launched an offensive to oust ISIS from its last enclave in Syria, in the small town of Baghouz Al-Fawqani in the country’s east.

At its height, the group controlled an area the size of Great Britain and ruled over 10 million people.

UK ‘will not hesitate’ to prevent fighters’ return

On Friday UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid said Britain will “not hestitate” to prevent the return of ISIS fighters to the UK, but those who make it back will be investigated and potentially prosecuted.

Trump’s tweets come days after a British teenager, who joined ISIS in 2015, said she wants to return home after falling pregnant.

Shamima Begum traveled from London to Syria with two of her classmates when she was 15 to join the caliphate. Now 19, she told The Times that she had no regrets about going to Syria but that she wanted to come home “to have my child.” On Saturday, her family’s lawyer announced Begum had given birth to her third child.

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