US urges France and UK to take back ISIS fighters from Iraq and Syria | Islamic state

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The continued detention of former Islamic State fighters in Iraqi and Syrian camps is untenable, and more of them must be repatriated to their countries of origin, the US secretary of state said at the time. of a summit of the international coalition against Isis, held in Rome.

In remarks addressed primarily to France and the UK, Antony Blinken said: “This situation is simply untenable. It simply cannot persist indefinitely.

“The United States continues to urge countries – including coalition partners – to repatriate, rehabilitate and, where appropriate, prosecute their citizens. “

France and Britain, two of the United States’ closest allies, have resisted calls to bring their citizens back fearing they will have no way to reliably prosecute them. They fear that the courts will demand that Isis’ veterans be released and thus place a major burden on intelligence services.

Blinken hailed Italy, its host, as one of the few Western European countries to repatriate its citizens, and also praised the efforts of Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan, which he said brought back 600 combatants and their families and placed them in rehabilitation programs. .

Ahead of the summit, Mazloum Abdi, the leader of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish group that did more than any force to defeat Isis, also called on the coalition “to help send these people back to their countries of origin, to fund education and de-radicalization programs, and support stability and a strong economic recovery in liberated areas to tackle the root causes of extremism ”.

General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the US Central Command, told the American Enterprise Institute during a webinar in late April that the children at al-Hawl camp “are becoming radicalized, and unless we find a way to repatriate them, reintegrate them and de-radicalize them. , we give ourselves the gift of fighters in five to seven years, and that’s a serious problem. It will be a military problem in a few years if we don’t fix the non-military aspects now ”.

There are reportedly 60,000 former Isis supporters detained at al-Hawl camp in northern Syria.

The 83-nation coalition against Isis fractured under President Donald Trump, in part because of his unilateral decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, thus weakening the position of the Syrian Kurds, a decision he then partially made. canceled under pressure from its allies and the government. US Army.

Efforts were intensified to prosecute Isis supporters in Europe.

Recently, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office announced that 14 supporters of Isis would be tried this year for their alleged role in assisting the Paris attacks of November 2015, in which 130 people were killed. The man suspected of being the only surviving attacker, Salah Abdeslam, is to be tried in Paris in September.

The United States had a relatively small number of citizens traveling to Syria, but it says it repatriated 28 Americans: 12 adults and 16 children. Ten of the adults were prosecuted for terrorist offenses.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has warned that ISIS is repositioning itself in Africa following its military defeats in Iraq and Syria.

Overall, the coalition claims to have freed 8 million people from Isis’ control in Iraq and Syria, but foreign ministers were under pressure to recognize that the jihadist threat has shifted geographically from the Middle East.

Raab has pledged £ 12.6million to help fight Isis in the Lake Chad Basin. The funds will be used to support both the regional military struggle against Isis and projects encouraging fighters to leave the terrorist group. Raab said ahead of the meeting: “Two years after Daesh’s territorial defeat in Iraq and Syria, the Daesh threat and its hateful ideology have not disappeared. It is worrying that it continues to grow in Africa, which is why we must work with our coalition partners to tackle its poisonous propaganda on all fronts.

“We stand alongside our African partners to combat the growing threat from Daesh-linked groups across Africa, particularly in the Lake Chad Basin. We have to make sure there is no safe haven for Daesh. “

The Italian Foreign Minister also called on the coalition to create a working group on Isis in Africa.

This change will be welcomed by the French government, which has been fighting terrorist groups in the Sahel for years.

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