President Donald Trump is asking France, Germany, and other countries on Wednesday to take back citizens captured fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Otherwise, the United States “will have no choice but to release them into the countries from which they came.”
Trump said the United States and its allies are holding “thousands” of ISIS terrorists after forcing the extremist group to abandon the last territory it held in Syria.
The president told reporters at the White House that European countries need to take back their citizens who joined the extremist group and are now being held prisoner. He said the United States will not hold them at its base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, “for the next 50 years and pay for it.”
The President said the United States has wiped out 100 percent of the caliphate. Now it is time for Russia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, and India to take responsibility for their own people.
“The United States—we’re 7,000 miles away. We have decimated ISIS. You haven’t been hearing much about ISIS. And we took the caliphate, 100%. When I took it at 98%, I said, “All right, maybe we go home now. Let these other countries handle it.” Everyone went crazy. They said, “Do 100 percent.” They said it was going to take a year. It took me a month and they’re gone. The caliphate is gone. And, by the way, we’re holding thousands of ISIS fighters right now, and Europe has to take them.”
President Trump also told reporters, if Europe doesn’t take them back he will have “no choice” but to release them back into the countries from where they came, which includes France and Germany.
Trump signed an executive order shortly after taking office to keep open the detention center at Guantánamo, reversing an eight-year effort by President Barack Obama to shut it down. But no new detainees have been sent to the base in Cuba, where the United States still holds 40 men.
Ambassador James Jeffrey, the State Department envoy to the international coalition fighting the ISIS and the president said earlier this month that there are about 2,500 fighters that the United States wants Europe to take.