Take back 800 ISIS-fighters captured in Syria: Trump to Europe
US President Donald Trump has demanded the European nations take back more than 800 ISIS fighters captured in Syria and put them on trial, warning that the US otherwise will be forced to free the jihadists after it pulls out from the war-torn country. "The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative isn't a good one...we will be forced to release them," said Trump.
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
President Trump surprised the world by announcing in December that he was withdrawing 2,000 American troops from war-torn Syria. He also warned the Islamic State (ISIS) that America would hit them hard from nearby military bases if the terror outfit regains momentum.
US-backed fighters are set to capture ISIS's last tiny stronghold in Syria, bringing an end to its self-declared caliphate. President Trump warned that ISIS fighters could "permeate Europe" and called on European nations to "step up" efforts to put the prisoners on trial in their countries. "The US does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe," he said in a tweet.
....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
ISIS, which once controlled the huge swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, suffered crippling defeats in 2017 when Iraq recaptured Mosul and the Syrian Democratic Forces seized its Syrian capital of Raqqa, and the Syrian government pushed it east to the Euphrates. The US President has said that he will pull the American forces from Syria after ISIS' territorial defeat.
However, Trump's decision raised questions over the fate of the US' Kurdish allies vulnerable to an attack from Turkey. Ankara, which is the capital city of Turkey, views the Kurdish forces as terrorists aligned with insurgents inside the country.
Last month, Trump threatened to "devastate" Turkey economically if the NATO-allied nation attacks US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria following a pullout of American troops from Syria. He also urged the Kurds not to "provoke" Ankara. Ground troops first arrived in Syria in autumn 2015 when the then President Barack Obama sent in a small number of special forces to train and advise YPG fighters.
A peaceful uprising against the presidency of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seven years ago turned into a full-scale civil war in the country. The conflict has left more than 350,000 people dead, devastated cities, and drawn in other countries.