The White House and State Department are pressuring governments in Europe to take back thousands of jihadis and their brides captured when ISIS collapsed – and having no success.
Officials are pushing governments including those of Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel to take back their citizens – and to guarantee that they will not be allowed to roam the streets unchecked, a source familiar with the conversations told DailyMail.com.
Donald Trump arrives in France next Saturday for the G7 summit of the world’s largest economies and will meet all three leaders face to face; in Johnson’s case it will be their first meeting since the British politician took office as the UK’s new prime minister.
The White House and State Department are pressuring governments in Europe to take back thousands of jihadis and their brides captured when ISIS collapsed – and having no success. Donald Trump arrives in France next Saturday for the G7 summit
He’s likely to speak to Johnson about repatriating British citizens captured in former ISIS territories. British Jihadi wife Shamima Begum is pictured here with her son Jerah in Al Hawl camp for captured ISIS wives in children
The jihadis, their wives and children are all held in territory in Iraq and Syria held by U.S. allies, with American military aiding their detention. Among them are two of the ‘Beatles,’ the British citizens turned ISIS killers who beheaded American hostages in gruesome videos.
One source familiar with the push to get the jihadis repatriated from what is effectively U.S.-controlled territory said that it was causing tensions with European capitals but framed it as the result of those countries’ immigration policies – a point unlikely to be agreed with by European leaders.
‘That’s going to cause some difficulties. They’re not going to be happy about that. But you get the jihadis you invite in sometimes, and now you have to learn to deal with them,’ the person said of Donald Trump’s push to get rid of them.
Shamima Begum has been stripped of British citizenship to keep her from returning
The person said the U.S. government has been pushing America’s allies to take the fighters in for nearly two years, with no success at all.
‘It’s more exploratory than operational,’ the person said of the discussions, acknowledging the lack of progress.
The total number of foreign fighters captured in Syria and Iraq is unclear.
Trump told journalists at a Marine One departure on the South Lawn at the beginning of August that the coalition against ISIS had captured more than 10,000 jihadis in Iraq and Syria.
Many are from Middle Eastern countries but many hundreds are believed to have come from European countries. Trump claimed there were 2,500 from Europe.
The Syrian Democratic Forces, who are allied with the U.S., were alone holding around 800 European jihadis earlier this month, The Independent reported.
‘We have 2,500 ISIS fighters that we want Europe to take because they were going back into Europe — into France, into Germany, into various places,’ he said.
Trump has publicly floated the idea that the jihadis could simply be released.
The person familiar with the discussions acknowledged that such a move was unlikely.
Not only do international treaties and obligations prevent President Donald Trump from doing so, the person said, fighters are likely to return to extremist cells if they are released from government custody.
‘I just don’t think there’s any way, ‘ the person said. ‘The Europeans could just say no.’
On top of those who fought for ISIS are their wives and children. Already one of the ISIS brides – Shamima Begum – has been stripped of British citizenship. She fled Britain aged just 15 to marry a jihadi and is now 19, and stranded in a camp in Syria effectively without a state.
The largest camp, al-Hol, has 11,000 people in it, most of them civilian women and children.
The issue adds to the list of potential flashpoints with European leaders like trade and tariffs at the G7, which is made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the U.S.
Trump has been publicly critical of France’s president, Macron, and Germany’s chancellor, Merkel, while praising the UK’s Johnson and Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte.
Additionally, the UK is at odds with the other three European countries over leaving the European Union.
All four countries acknowledge that citizens or residents who left for ISIS territory to take part in the jihad or to marry men who were should be punished.
ISIS brides are a problem in particular. Trump’s administration has contended that one woman, Hoda Muthana, who was born in America isn’t a citizen, because her father originally came to the country as a diplomat.
ISIS brides are a problem in particular. Trump’s administration has contended that one woman, Hoda Muthana, who was born in America isn’t a citizen, because her father originally came to the country as a diplomat
Aine Davis (left) is said to have been a member of the notorious gang of four British jihadists including ISIS executioner Jihadi John. A handout image provided by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) shows captured British Islamic State (IS) group fighter Alexanda Kotey
President Trump has said he could release other terrorist sympathizers and fighters into Europe and suggested in early August that a plan was in the works.
Trump told journalists at a Marine One departure on the South Lawn that he could drop detainees on European countries’ doorsteps.
‘We have thousands of ISIS fighters that we want Europe to take, and let’s see if they take them,’ he said. ‘If they don’t take them, we’ll probably have to release them to Europe.’
The source familiar with the conversations said that the U.S. is actively seeking assistance from regional allies, as well.
‘There are discussions under way. Those discussions are happening, And they’re happening I think more driven by Iraq and Syria and what to do about them, starting with the ISIS wives. A lot of discussion of what category those people fall into,’ the person said.
Since 2008, the U.S. has not shipped detainees to Guantanamo Bay, the prison it maintains at a naval base off the coast of Cuba.
Trump once said he’d like to ‘load it up with bad dudes’ but he never followed through.
Barack Obama drove down the number of detainees in U.S. custody through repatriation deals. Just 40 terror suspects are now held at the site.