Two British jihadists who are thought to be the last two members of the ISIS Beatles terror group may be released in the wake of President Trump’s move to extract troops from Syria.
Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh are being detained by Kurdish authorities in northern Syria after they were accused of torturing and murdering both journalists and aid workers.
Trump made the announcement to pull all 2,000 troops out of Syria on Twitter on Wednesday, declaring victory over the Islamic State and contradicting his own experts’ assessments.
However Kurdistan officials advised yesterday that Trump’s choice may result in an uncertain situation in the country, leaving them unable to hold the estimated 800 prisoners currently in confinement, reports The Times.
Alexanda Kotey (left) and El Shafee Elsheikh are being detained by Kurdish authorities in northern Syria after they were accused of torturing and murdering both journalists and aid workers
Senior Kurdish official Ilhan Ahmed warned an attack from Turkey and a potential resurgence from ISIS would cause chaos in the region, he told a press conference in Paris.
If that were to happen Mr Ahmed threatened that the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), dominated by the Kurds, would ‘no longer be able to contain’ the prisoners they are currently holding.
Along with the 800 suspected terrorists who are imprisoned in the country, it also holds the 548 wives and 1,248 children of the suspected Islamic State fighters.
President Donald Trump declared a victory in Syria in the U.S. campaign against ISIS as the military prepares for a total pullout
Trump declared victory in Syria over ISIS on Wednesday morning in a surprise announcement that the U.S. was pulling troops out of the region
After the SDF requested that the 46 countries where the prisoners originally came take them back, security experts told the newspaper that the latest development threatening their release is ‘unsurprising’.
Elsheikh and Kotey’s British citizenship was removed before they were captured however the UK is one of many nation’s rejecting the proposal for prisoners to return at all.
Head of the Beatles murder cell which Elsheikh and Kotey belong to, Jihadi John – real name Mohammend Emwazi – was killed during a drone strike in 2016.
The Kobani prison where the two men are being held is likely to be one of the first areas in the country to come under charge.
The Beatles group were responsible for the murder of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff as well as British aid workers David Haines and Alan Hemming.
Mike Haines, 51, who is David’s brother, expressed his concern last night that the two fighters accused of his murder may not receive justice if troops are withdrawn from the country.
Following the removal of U.S. troops, President Erdogan of Turkey said that Turkey’s frontier will be cleared of Kurdish troops.
The United States is preparing to withdraw its troops from Syria, a major move that throws into question America’s role in the region
After Trump’s announcement that ISIS had been defeated, the terror group launched a counter-strike in a bid to defend its final stronghold, Hajin, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor.
It hit SDF positions near Hajin, which had been the jihadists’ eastern stronghold, until it was retaken last week by the Arab-Kurdish forces.
‘Both sides continue to engage in intense fighting east of the Hajin area’, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman reported on Thursday.
IS, which retains control of other areas near Hajin, fiercely defends its presence in this part of Deir Ezzor province, where some 2,000 jihadists are cornered, according to the coalition fighting the group.
Syrian Democratic Forces and U.S. troops are seen during a patrol near Turkish border in Hasakah, Syria November 4, 2018
After conquering vast swathes of Syrian territory in 2014, IS has suffered numerous setbacks over the past two years, due to separate offensives by the SDF and Syria’s national military.
The jihadists have been confined to a few pockets of territory in eastern Syria and the country’s vast Badiya desert, which extends from Homs province to the Iraqi border.
Despite losing almost all the territory it conquered, IS maintains a strike capability, as seen in multiple deadly attacks in Syria in recent months.
U.S. troops patrol near Turkish border in Hasakah, Syria, November 4, 2018
It has also resisted to the last man offensives designed to recapture its remaining strongholds.
The IS combatants, which know the area better than their enemies, have non-Syrian combatants within their ranks, according to the SDF. There are ‘top-ranking’ leaders among them.
‘A mini-army of several hundred fighters… has been assembled by IS there, including some of its best snipers,’ according to Nicholas Heras, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security.
IS has also regularly attacked the Syrian army and its allies in the Badiya desert.