US and Europe disagree on repatriation of IS foreign fighters

Saturday, 2019-11-16 10:50:26
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Foreign ministers and foreign officials gather at the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Small Group Ministerial meeting in Washington, USA, on November 14, 2019. (Photo: AP)
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NDO – Foreign ministers from the global coalition against the Islamic State (IS) gather at the coalition’s Small Group Ministerial meeting in Washington, USA, on November 14 to discuss repatriating foreign fighters detained in Syria and Iraq.

As reported by Reuters, this was the first emergency meeting proposed by France after the US announced its withdrawal from northern Syria. Currently, the top concern of the coalition is dealing with the issue of the roughly 10,000 IS fighters and their families detained in areas near north-eastern Syria.

* However, at the meeting mentioned above, representatives of more than 30 countries in the coalition showed disagreement over the issue of repatriating IS fighters. Speaking at a press conference, US coordinator for counterterrorism Nathan Sales said that there was disagreement about how to best address the issue. According to the US official, it would be irresponsible for any country to expect Iraq to solve the issue of IS prisoners for them.

* Meanwhile, France has started negotiations with Iraq on the trials of French IS prisoners in Iraq. In addition, the UK also does not want to repatriate Islamist extremists. European countries are concerned that the trials of jihadists in these countries would cause social reactions, as well as the risk of increasing terrorist attacks on European territory.

* Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on European allies to make further commitments to sponsor stable programmes in Syria and repatriate citizens of these countries who joined IS. Pompeo also affirmed that the US would continue to lead the anti-IS alliance and emphasised that US forces are determined to ensure that IS will never be able to resume operations.

* On November 14, the Turkish Interior Ministry said that it had repatriated seven more foreign "terrorists" to their home countries. Accordingly, the subjects were repatriated from Istanbul, including six people of German nationality and one person of British nationality. The Turkish Interior Ministry also said that an American jihadist might also be deported home because Washington has promised to take over the subject.