Published: Thu, October 10, 2019

U.S. to hand over to Iraq IS members evacuated from Syria

U.S. to hand over to Iraq IS members evacuated from Syria

The two "Beatles, ' Alexanda Kotey known as 'Jihadi Ringo" (left) and and El Shafee Elsheikh (right), are in US custody.

They declined to provide details or say whether they included two British militants who were moved out of a detention center in Syria and were now in US custody, according to USA officials.

Earlier, Trump had said the USA had "taken a certain number of Isis fighters that are particularly bad, and we've wanted to make sure that nothing happened with them with respect to getting out".

Turkey's military said it had seized designated targets.

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh were part of a group of four of these British ISIS soldiers who beheaded seven American, British and Japanese journalists and aid workers and a group of Syrian soldiers.

The two are understood to be part of a larger group moved by the USA, with some reports saying it numbered around 40 Isis fighters.

Their cell is accused of abducting and decapitating around 20 hostages including American journalist James Foley, who was beheaded in 2012.

"They have been moved out of Syria and are in a secure location".

The number of Britons held in Isis jails is estimated by security sources to be around 30, and the United Kingdom has largely pursued a policy of ignoring them, arguing that they travelled to Syria at their own risk, a country where there has been no consular support since the start of the civil war in 2011.

We are taking them out and putting them in different locations, where it's secure. The beheadings, often carried out on camera, horrified the world soon after IS took over much of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

The two British men were captured in January in eastern Syria by the Kurdish forces amid the collapse of IS.

Trump touting the detainees movement comes amid reports that Attorney General Bill Barr is pushing to have the captors prosecuted in the U.S.

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a so-called caliphate in 2014 in large parts of Syria and Iraq that the extremists controlled.

If this is true, and the detained men were transferred over global borders, it could prove more complicated for the prosecute. But ISIS was defeated in Iraq in 2017 and in March the SDF captured the last sliver of land that was held by the fighters in Syria. They have not been moved but are mainly staying in place to avoid attacks.

President Trump and other US officials have repeatedly pressed other nations across Europe and the Middle East to take back the detainees from their countries.

The UK does not normally allows its citizens to be extradited if they will face a death penalty charge, but when he was home secretary, Sajid Javid said he would not longer seek such assurances from the USA in the cases of Kotey and Elsheikh.

"We don't want them either", he said.

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