US President Donald Trump speaks to the press at the White House as he departs for Cincinnati to hold a campaign rally in Washington, DC, on August 1, 2019. (Photo by AFP)
US President Donald Trump has threatened Europe that if the 28-member bloc fails to repatriate European Daesh members captured in Syria and Iraq, he may release the terrorists to return to the place where they came from.
Speaking to reporters at the White House lawn on Thursday, RT quoted Trump as saying, “You’ll always gonna have somebody around, but right now we’ve captured over 10,000 – we have 2,500 ISIS fighters that we want Europe to take, because they were going back into Europe, into France, into Germany, into various places.”
The European Commission announced recently that more than 2500 persons, who had once left various European countries to join the Daesh terrorist group in Iraq or Syria, are currently unaccounted for
According to Julian King, the European Commissioner for security, at least 5,500 foreign terrorist fighters left the continent to travel to Iraq and Syria.
Trump further slammed Europe’s unwillingness to repatriate and prosecute its nationals and said, “So we have thousands of ISIS fighters that we want Europe to take and let’s see if [they] take them. And if they don’t take them, we’ll probably have to release them.”
This is not the first time that the US president is demanding European leaders act more decisively and take back their nationals. Back in February, he posted a tweet calling on Europe to take them back or Washington would be “forced to release them.”
European countries have shown mixed reactions to this, with some rejecting Trump’s demand because they fear that those returning home will be a security challenge for years to come.
“We are talking about the most dangerous people in the world. We should not take them back,” a spokesperson for Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said. He further described Trump’s call as premature, claiming that the situation in Syria was far from stable.
Germany, however, said all German citizens, including those suspected of having fought for the terror group, “have the right to return”.
France has said they would all be “put on trial and incarcerated” once repatriated.
Extremists from across Europe joined Daesh in droves in 2014, when the Takfiri terror group launched its campaign of death and destruction in Iraq and Syria.
Back then, many European leaders ignored repeated warnings that militants could return home one day and that they would be a serious security challenge across the continent.
They instead allowed their nationals to join the Takfiri terror outfit in the hope that they would help topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. To that aim, the United States also supported Daesh and intentionally paved the way for it to gain power in Syria.