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Trump says Europe must take back 800 captured ISIS fighters



President Trump warned late on Saturday that Europe must take back around 800 captured ISIS fighters from the continent, or risk the US being forced to release them.

In two late night tweets, Trump said that the fighters, captured by US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria, could be released if European nations do not take them in and put them on trial, risking further IS backed attacks on the continent.

“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.

“The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them,” he continued.

In a second tweet, the president added: “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!”

If Europe does not take back and prosecute the captured ISIS fighters, one US government source told The Telegraph newspaper that it amounted to a policy of: “Leave them at large and hope they don’t find a way back.”

Read more:The family of the 9-month pregnant British teen who joined ISIS insists she poses no danger even as the government threatens to stop her from returning

Trump’s tweets come as US-backed forces in Syria come close to capturing Baghuz, the final town held by ISIS forces. The president said on Friday that victory over the so-called caliphate would be achieved within 24 hours, but no confirmation of Baghuz’s overthrow has yet been given.

The Telegraph reports that Syrian Democratic Forces commanders slowed down their assault on Baghuz over “fears that civilians were being used as human shields.”

News of ISIS’ imminent defeat comes just days after The Times of London published an interview with British teenager Shamima Begum, who fled the UK to join IS in Syria in 2015, but now wants to return to the UK.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said that Begum may not be allowed to return to the UK, but that if she does return, she may be put on trial.

However, British Justice Secretary David Gauke contradicted Javid’s view on Saturday, saying that the UK may be forced to accept Begum’s return. “We can’t make people stateless,” he said in an interview with Sky News.

Under international law, a country cannot revoke a person’s citizenship unless they can be made a citizen of another state.

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