The United States urged other countries Monday to bring home hundreds of ISIS sympathizers captured in Syria, a delicate issue for allies such as France as Washington withdraws troops, AFP reported.
After allies grappled for weeks on what to do with the extremists left in Syria, the United States came down clearly on the side of repatriation.
The United States said that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) - which played a major role in crushing ISIS and has warned that it may not be able to guard its jails once US troops leave, had been holding the jihadists “securely and humanely.”
“The United States calls upon other nations to repatriate and prosecute their citizens detained by the SDF and commends the continued efforts of the SDF to return these foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.
The announcement comes two days before foreign ministers of US allies are set to meet in Washington for talks on the anti-ISIS coalition, with question marks on how to move forward without the military backing of the United States.
President Donald Trump on December 19 stunned Western allies by announcing that the United States would pull its 2,000 troops out of Syria, declaring that ISIS had been defeated.
In a carefully worded statement, the State Department conceded that the group still had fighters who pose concerns.
“Despite the liberation of ISIS-held territory in Iraq and Syria, ISIS remains a significant terrorist threat and collective action is imperative to address this shared international security challenge,” Palladino said.