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As the US prepares to eradicate a small remaining ISIS force in eastern Syria, European allies are fighting the fate of their citizens imprisoned in the war-torn nation. President Trump has demanded that Western countries accept Islamic State fighters and initiate criminal proceedings in their home countries.
In a series of tweets over the weekend, Trump called on European countries, notably Britain, France and Germany, to receive more than 800 European fighters who joined the Islamic State and were later captured by the US military. European countries were reluctant to allow these citizens to return.
"The caliphate is ready to fall," Trump announced on Saturday suggesting that the countries of the European Union would refuse to take back their nationals Alternative is not good as we will be forced to release her. "
Minutes later, Trump added:" The US does not want to see these IS militants pervading Europe, where they are expected to go there. Time for others to step up and do the work they are capable of doing. "
The United States is calling on the UK, France, Germany and other European allies to take back and bring to justice over 800 ISIS fighters captured in Syria, and the caliphate is ready to fall good, since we will be forced to release her ……..
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019
Syrian Democratic Forces, estimated that there are 800 Western Men, 700 women and about 1,500 children who are imprisoned in prisons and camps across the region. Le Monde reports.
But the question of what to do with thousands of people who are now considered Returning prisoners or to Europe of their own volition was a delicate matter for the legal systems of ex-combatants, their spouses and children, and one which is becoming more and more urgent with the control of the Islamic State Since the height of its power between 2013 and 2015, it has continued to narrow in Syria and Iraq.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas addressed some complications associated with the return of Islamic state warriors in a television interview on Sunday evening in the country, reported the news agency NPR. Maas pointed out that legal proceedings are "extremely difficult to implement", largely due to the lack of "judicial information". Therefore, prisoners should only be returned to Germany if they were sure that they would be brought to justice.
Since 2013, more than 1,000 citizens have traveled to Syria and Iraq, a third has already returned to Germany, according to the government.
On Monday, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry of Germany commented on what Maas said and said, "Basically, all German citizens and those suspected to have fought the so-called IS have the right to return," Reuters reported. However, her extradition would only be possible if the suspects had consular access – a condition that the German Government can not guarantee "because of the armed conflict there".
In France, where the government has been very hostile to French members of the IS for the past six years, there have been conflicting reactions to Trump's demands.
According to Le Monde Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said that the tweets of the American President will have no bearing on France's policy of determining the rate of return of IS fighters on a case-by-case basis.
But Agnès Von Der Mühll, a State Department spokesman, told NBC News that given the "American decision," the French government explored all options "to prevent these potentially dangerous individuals from fleeing or dispersing."
It is unclear how many French citizens were caught or living in camps, but the Associated Press reported that French jihadists were the largest contingent of European recruits in the region.
Meanwhile, even before Trump's tweets Britain was firmly against the idea of going to Syrian or Iraqi prisons or refugee camps to seek British citizens who had voluntarily left ISIS.
"I do not risk the lives of British people to look for terrorists or former terrorists in a failed state," said Secretary of State Ben Wallace loudly The Guardian after being shot by a British woman In 2015, when she joined ISIS as a teenager, she decided to return to the UK before the birth of her third child.
Shamima Begum has since given birth to a child, according to her family, but her case and the national debate that triggered it show the complexity with which all EU governments deal with non-combatant jihad brides and their children are confronted.
Begum, who was married to a Dutch Muslim convert shortly after her arrival in Syria, has reportedly expressed no regret over her decision to join ISIS. The impetus for her recent requests to return to England is based on her concern for her baby's health. Begum's first two children reportedly died of illness and malnutrition.
Despite this, British officials are making no attempt to return them to the UK.
The government has decided to deprive British citizens who served as ISIS fighters of their citizenship instead of bringing them to justice.
"This is because the standards of a court are very strict and it is very difficult to gather evidence that will eventually lead to a conviction "Lorenzo Vidino, director of the extremism program at George Washington University, told NPR.
Even in cases where the prosecution comes to a conviction, most sentences are quite short – between three and five years, he said. "But most people who have returned home are not charged, not because the Europeans are soft, but because they have no proof."
In the early years of the Islamic State's rise, not only was this not the case for traveling to Syria, but in most EU countries, according to Vidino, there were no laws allowing citizens to join IS or a terrorist organization in the country Prohibit foreign countries.
"There were only laws that you could not join a domestic terrorist group," he said.
It was not until 2015 or later that these laws were introduced in several EU countries, "but they can not be applied retroactively," Vidino said.
All in all, according to Vidino, the EU countries could not do much more than continue to monitor the returnees.
"It's frustrating for a good portion of the public and something they do not really understand, but that's all [some governments] can do," he added.
Trump said the US forces would withdraw from Syria once the IS is defeated.