The captured ISIS fighters that nobody wants

That is the query dealing with Syrian Kurdish forces and their US allies in northern Syria now.

The closing phases of the anti-ISIS battle swept up numerous ISIS fighters, together with many foreigners. Some might have been allowed to depart Raqqa, the so-called capital of the caliphate, within the closing deal agreed between the Syrian Kurds and ISIS to cut back civilian casualties, beneath which dozens of ISIS fighters, international and Syrian, fled with civilians into the desert.

Different ISIS fighters have been on the run longer. Some are unknown gamers, however some are additionally famous criminals, just like the so-called “Beatles” — British ISIS fighters who taunted western audiences as they tortured and executed sure, unarmed hostages kneeling earlier than them.

Their destiny has introduced the US — to whom a lot of the world appears for an answer to this drawback — with a quandary.

The US principal deputy assistant secretary of protection for worldwide safety affairs, Katie Wheelbarger, just lately advised reporters: “These aren’t essentially the very best detention amenities within the sense of they’re being held in Syria and never in essentially the most safe space. I believe it could be higher if we ensure that they’re prosecuted if attainable of their international locations of origin.” To this finish, talks with different members of the coalition had been ongoing, she stated.

However the US can not drive different international locations to simply accept their residents again. Some don’t need their extremists.

Notably, 5 days after their seize, the UK has made no public assertion about what it wants to do with the 2 surviving “Beatles,” named by US intelligence sources as El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey. There’s clearly a reluctance to place them on public trial within the UK. Maybe it’s out of a concern that it could give them a platform for his or her extremist beliefs. However there’s additionally a danger of failure — it could be exhausting to collect convincing proof of crimes dedicated in a far-off land. The stays of many victims have but to be situated.

The two surviving "Beatles", according to US officials: El Shafee Elsheikh (L) and Alexanda Kotey (R).

A US official says there was no dialogue about bringing Elsheikh and Kotey to Guantanamo Bay, the American detention facility in Cuba that is frowned upon by UK politicians. Additional complicating the state of affairs, one western official advised CNN there’s a robust risk of the Beatles being stripped of their UK citizenship.

That will successfully go away them stateless, held by an unrecognized state managed by Syrian Kurds in northern Syria. France’s international minister has indicated that its residents needs to be tried in northern Syria. However the Syrian Kurds are unlikely to have the capability to attempt a whole lot of ISIS members. So then what? Indefinite detention, or execution, by an unrecognized state? Would that mollify Europe’s ethical jitters right here?

There’s one attainable answer. When US forces detain somebody on the anti-ISIS battlefield, they generally hand them over to Iraqi safety forces. Iraq is the one purposeful state the place ISIS has territory, and with which the US has a diplomatic relationship. They’ve additionally been making an attempt these ISIS fighters caught of their territory shortly and placing many on demise row. Many detainees might have been to Iraq in addition to Syria, maybe placing their conduct beneath Iraqi jurisdiction.

Within the meantime, the authorized problems are mounting — as is the variety of detainees — in a detention facility that’s removed from excellent. It’s extraordinary that after almost 17 years because the September 11 assaults, and after 4 years combating ISIS at dwelling and overseas, Europe’s capitals nonetheless stumble when figuring out what to do with this newest variation of defeated extremist.

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