President Donald Trump announced today on Twitter that “some” European countries are willing to repatriate their nationals from the jihadist Islamic State (EI) group, which could mean a change of course in the policy adopted so far in Europe.
“I have just been notified that some European nations are now willing, for the first time, to take EI fighters from those nations. That’s good news, but they should have done it when WE capture them! In any case, great progress is being made!!!”, he posted on his Twitter account.
When asked about Efe, the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon did not specify which countries the president refers to in his Twitter message.
In addition, Trump explained that he had spoken on the phone with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and that Erdogan had told him that he wanted the cessation of hostilities to “work.
“He (Erdogan) wants the ceasefire or pause to work. In the same way, the Kurds also want it and that this final solution occurs (…) There is good will on both sides and a very good chance of success,” said the president.
And, without offering more details, he assured that the EI fighters are “doubly guarded by the Kurds and Turkey”.
The government has repeatedly asked the European powers to take charge of the European jihadists in prisons in northern Syria under the custody of the Forces of Democratic Syria (FSD), an armed alliance led by Kurdish militias.
Since Turkey launched an offensive against the Kurdish militias on 9 October, the FSD has had to reduce the number of troops guarding these prisons and, moreover, two days ago announced that they had “suspended” all their activities against the Jihadist group.
The Turkish military operation is directed against the Kurdish militias People’s Protection Units (YPG), which are led by the FSD and which Ankara considers terrorist, although they were Washington’s best allies in eradicating the EI presidency in Syria.
According to the Kurdish administration, there are about 12,000 jihadist prisoners of different nationalities in the centres under FSD control.
Among them are combatants of Spanish, French, German, Belgian and British nationality.
As European countries have so far refused to extradite their citizens, some of them have faced justice in Iraqi courts, where according to Human Rights Watch (HRW) there have been fraudulent trials and some minors have faced the same kind of sentences as adults.
Generally speaking, some European countries fear that repatriating EI fighters with European passports could endanger their citizens in Europe and, so far, have preferred that they be tried in Iraq or Syria.