US President Donald Trump has threatened to set prisoners from Europe who joined Daesh* in Syria and Iraq free at the EU’s borders if they refuse to take back the captives. According to the American commander-in-chief, after the US defeated the so-called caliphate, Washington has “thousands of prisoners of war, ISIS fighters" who are European nationals, but these countries are refusing to cooperate. He singled out France and Germany when speaking on the matter.
"We're asking the countries from which they came, from Europe, we're asking them to take back these prisoners of war. And they can try them, do what they want. So far, they've refused. And at some point, I'm going to have to say, 'I'm sorry, but you either take them back or we're going to let them go at your border'", he said.
Donald Trump insisted that the US “is not going to have thousands and thousands of people” to hold at Guantanamo Bay, where a notorious American prison for terrorists is located, for the next 50 years, “spending billions and billions of dollars”, as he put it.
"We've done Europe a tremendous favour. If they don't take them back, we're going to probably put them at the border and then they'll have to capture them again", Trump threatened.
This is not the first time that he has warned European countries about the consequences of being uncooperative in regards to the situation of the imprisoned jihadists, who are deemed too dangerous to be released.
In August, Trump warned that Washington is prepared to dump up to 2,500 Daesh prisoners into countries in Europe if those nations do not accept them voluntarily. He also threatened to release the captives in February.
However, no country has yet acted on Trump's demands. European nations have reportedly been reluctant to take back people who joined the terrorists, even if they were not actively involved in military operations.
According to the European Commission, 42,000 foreign fighters from over 120 countries joined Daesh’s ranks between 2011 and 2016, with 5,000 of them allegedly originating from Europe. Its 2017 report on returnees highlights that while the average percentage of militants returning to Europe amounts to around 30 percent, the figure is higher for Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, adding that nearly 50 percent of fighters from these countries have returned to their homelands.
*Daesh (Islamic State, ISIL, ISIS, IS) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries.