Europe should take back Islamic State fighters, says Trump

US president Donald Trump has said Britain and other European allies should “take back” more than 800 Islamic State fighters captured in Syria.

Mr Trump warned the IS fighters could “permeate Europe” and called on Britain, France and Germany to “step up” and put the prisoners on trial in their countries.

He said: “The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them.

“The US does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go.

“We do so much, and spend so much – Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!”

IS fighters are contained to an area of 700 square metres, with Ciya Furat, a commander with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), telling reporters on Saturday: “We will very soon bring good news to the whole world.”

The capture of the last pocket still held by IS fighters in Baghouz would mark the end of a devastating four-year global campaign to stop the extremist group’s hold on territory in Syria and Iraq — their so-called “caliphate” that at the height of the group’s power in 2014 controlled nearly a third of both Iraq and Syria.

However, the end of the terror group’s territorial control would not mean an end to the group, with Mr Furat saying the SDF would continue the fight against sleeper cells.

The family of Shamima Begum have pleaded for the teenager to be allowed back to the UK (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The comments from Mr Trump come after ministerial differences of opinion relating to the repatriation of foreign fighters and their relations to the UK – provoked by the case of 19-year-old Shamima Begum.

Pregnant Ms Begum ran away to IS-controlled Syria but now wants to return to the UK to bring up her baby.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned he “will not hesitate” to prevent the return of Britons who travelled to join IS, but Justice Secretary David Gauke told Sky News “we can’t make people stateless”.

- Press Association

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