Esper says UK should repatriate ISIS fighters

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper has warned that Britain and other European nations are creating a risk to regional security by refusing to repatriate ISIS fighters.

Speaking during his visit in London, Esper claimed that there are currently around 2,000 foreign fighters, many from Europe, held in north-east Syria. However, he said that asking the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to keep them in makeshift jails was an increasing risk to the fragile security of the region.

Britain has been seen as increasingly unwilling to allow any foreign fighters who have come from the UK to return and stand trial following the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. There are estimated to be up to 300 still in Syria.

Two of the most notorious ISIS fighters still being held in north East Syria, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey from London, are subject of an ongoing legal battle as to where they will be put on trial for murdering western hostages in Syria.

Esper is due to meet Defence Minister Ben Wallace on 6 September.


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