France and Germany react coolly to US demands to bring captured Isil volunteers home for trial

France and Germany react coolly to US demands to bring captured Isil volunteers home for trial

European countries led by France and Germany have reacted coolly to Donald Trump’s demand that they take back their citizens captured fighting for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). 

Germany said it would be “extremely difficult” to repatriate Isil volunteers, while France said bluntly that it would not respond to the US president’s demand.

“The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 Isil fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial,” Mr Trump tweeted at the weekend.

If European governments did not respond, he warned that the US and its Kurdish allies would release the captured jihadists who could make their way back to Europe.

The UK has so far been reluctant to repatriate its citizens captured fighting in Syria or women who went to marry Isil fighters, such as Shamima Begum. 

Germany has been similarly unwilling. Heiko Maas, the foreign minister, said at the weekend his country would only take back its nationals if “we can guarantee that these people can be immediately sent here to appear in court and that they will be detained”.

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