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World US repatriates dozens of IS 'foreign fighters'

00:10  02 october  2020
00:10  02 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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" We need countries to repatriate their citizens now more than ever because of the possibly grave consequences of foreign terrorist fighters returning to their Even though most politicians and experts agree that repatriating ISIS fighters would be far safer than leaving them in badly protected prisons

Those found guilty of war crimes will be sentenced to life imprisonment. Frontline fighters could receive sentences of up to 20 years, although this would mean expensive detention in a Britain has refused to repatriate adults from Syria and stripped the UK citizenship of anybody it considers a dual national.

The US Justice Department said Thursday that it brought home 27 Americans who went to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State group, as Washington again urged other nations to do the same.

a person standing next to a bag of luggage: A line of women to receive aid at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria where families of Islamic State foreign fighters are held © Delil SOULEIMAN A line of women to receive aid at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria where families of Islamic State foreign fighters are held

A day after filing charges against a Trinidadian-American father and son who enlisted in the Islamic State in 2015, the department said it had brought criminal terrorism support cases against some of those returning Americans.

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US President Donald Trump's decision to take custody of dozens of high-value Islamic State militants from the under-siege Kurds avoided their possible That could accelerate the need to resolve the problem of an estimated 2,000 IS foreign fighters , and 8,000 local IS militants, that have been held

Washington (CNN) The US military has been transferring dozens of captured ISIS foreign fighters from Syria to their countries of origin, according "The Department of Defense commends Macedonia for repatriating its citizens who have been detained by the Syrian Democratic Forces following their

Washington has said it is setting an example for other countries, notably Britain and France, who have resisted repatriating perhaps hundreds of their nationals from Iraq and Syria.

"This was our moral responsibility to the American people and to the people of the countries to which these terrorists traveled," said Assistant Attorney General John Demers in a statement.

The 27 represent only a portion of the hundreds of Americans and thousands of citizens of other countries who, often with their families, enlisted in the Islamic State as it undertook a bloody campaign to establish its "caliphate" across Syria and Iraq six years ago.

a group of people sitting and standing in front of a crowd: Men suspected of being affiliated with the Islamic State group in a prison in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakeh in 2019 © FADEL SENNA Men suspected of being affiliated with the Islamic State group in a prison in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakeh in 2019

Many remain in camps in Syria under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

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US officials told CNN in April that they were investigating reports that some of those detainees were US citizens. Many countries are reluctant to repatriate their fighters because of the difficulty of prosecuting suspected ISIS members based on evidence collected on the battlefield.

2000 foreign ISIS fighters held in Syria. The SDF are currently holding over 2,000 foreign ISIS fighters The US government has long sought to encourage countries to repatriate their citizens Fifty-nine Americans are believed to have traveled overseas to join ISIS, and more than a dozen have

Demers said that they had repatriated all 27 "against whom we have charges," suggesting there could still be more, as cases are built against them. He did not offer details on the accusations.

- Foreign fighters problem -

After wrestling with whether to abandon US "foreign fighters" for Islamic State in the region or to move them to the US military's Guantanamo prison camp, Washington decided two years ago to try them in federal courts.

Those charged with "material support of a designated terrorist group" include Kazakhstan-born, naturalized US citizen Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, 44, who was called an IS sniper and weapons trainer.

Also charged was Texas-born Omer Kuzu, who as a 17-year-old went to Syria with his brother in 2014 and worked as an IS communications specialist before his capture last year.

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Britain and other European nations that are refusing to repatriate Islamic State fighters and put them on trial in their country of origin are creating a risk to regional security, the US defence secretary warned at the start of his visit to London. Mark Esper said there were around 2,000 foreign fighters , many

The International Committee of the Red Cross is calling for the repatriation of families of foreign fighters suspected of being allied with Islamic State militants in Syria. This population includes more than 11,000 family members of suspected IS fighters from dozens of countries.

Some US allies have balked at bringing home their nationals.

London has refused to try El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, two men from Britain who are tied to murders of US and British journalists and aid workers as part of a notorious Islamic State kidnapping cell dubbed The Beatles.

Instead, Washington is now preparing the transfer them to the United States for trial.

Washington has been pressing hard the repatriation issue, vetoing on August 31 UN resolution pushed by Indonesia on handling foreign fighters because it didn't demand countries act to take back their own.

On Thursday the State Department praised Italy for repatriating one of its citizens to stand trial for supporting Islamic State.

"Repatriating and prosecuting terrorists is the most effective way to keep them from returning to the battlefield," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

- Terror politics -

"The United States should get credit for practicing what it preaches in regards to bringing back citizens to face justice," said Seamus Hughes of the George Washington University Program on Extremism.

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Read more: Germany mulls US demand to take back 'IS' fighters captured in Syria. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the issue of repatriating foreign fighters remained something for each country to deal with on a national level.

Exclusive: Two Britons and one US citizen are among dozens who have surrendered or been caught at Turkish border.

But he added that the "material support" statute used by US authorities has a "comparatively easier threshold" for charges and convictions that laws in Europe.

Moreover, he said, the number of European foreign fighters is far higher than Americans, and so a much larger challenge.

Some US material support cases have been criticized for overzealousness.

One of the earliest, Samantha Marie Elhassani, was charged in Chicago federal court with material support for a designated terrorist group in 2018.

But she claimed that she and her two children were forced to go to the Syrian warzone in 2015 by her husband.

Her lawyers were able to get a reduced charge, providing financial support for the terror group, because she admitted carrying money to Hong Kong for her husband. But she still faces a possible 10 year prison sentence.

"For the politics of the war on terror, they have to somehow turn them into ISIS members," said Thomas Durkin, a Chicago attorney in the Elhassani case, said of some Justice Department cases.

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