The US has called on countries like Britain to bring home and prosecute citizens suspected of fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) as pressure grows to deal with captured foreign fighters before American troops leave Syria.
Around 2,000 jihadists are being held in prisons across northern Syria by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Kurdish-led fighting group which has pushed Isil back with the help of Western airpower.
Among them are two British members of “The Beatles” squad, who murdered several Western hostages on camera, as well as at least other four other British men and seven women. Around 12 British children are also being held.
In a statement released on Monday, the US State Department said countries had a responsibility to take their citizens out of SDF custody and bring them home to stand trial.
“The United States calls upon other nations to repatriate and prosecute their citizens detained by the SDF and commends the continued efforts of the SDF to return these foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin,” the statement said.
The UK and other nations are reluctant to bring suspects home out of fear that they cannot be successfully prosecuted in domestic courts. In some cases, evidence against the suspects is based on intelligence gathered by spies which cannot be used in a criminal proceedings.