WASHINGTON (Rahnuma) — U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday required European allies to take back 800 Islamic State (IS) militants arrested in Syria after the U.S. withdrawal.
“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.
Trump said it was time “for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing” after the U.S. had expended plenty of resources in Syria.
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) detained more than 900 foreign fighters during their campaign against the IS in northeastern Syria, media reported.
The SDF has warned that they may not be able to hold IS fighters after the departure of U.S. forces, which was ordered by the Trump administration last December.
According to media reports, French officials said that some French jihadists had returned to France and more would follow. Britain, however, refused to take back citizens who had joined the IS, and other European countries have remained largely silent about this issue.
In his Saturday twitter, Trump also said that “the Caliphate is ready to fall” and reaffirmed the U.S. pullback from Syria after a complete defeat of the IS.
General Joseph Votel, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, told the media last Sunday that the United States would likely start to withdraw its troops from Syria in the coming weeks.
Trump said on Friday morning at the White House that “success with the eradication of the caliphate” would be announced over the next 24 hours.
U.S. media reported that the SDF launched an offensive against the IS in eastern Syria on Feb. 9, aiming to wipe out the last enclave of the extremist group. The SDF commander said Saturday that his forces had slowed down their advance to protect civilians, seeking to secure victory in a few days.
Despite the progress of the multinational campaign against the IS in Syria, Votel cautioned that some remaining IS fighters have “dispersed” and “gone to ground,” warning that the IS forces have the ability of “coming back together.”