A senior US military commander called on the UK to take back two suspected Daesh* terrorists who make up part of the group known as ‘The Beatles.'
El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey stand accused of being one half of the four-man group due to their British accents and are stamped as ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorists' by the US State Department for their macabre activities in Syria.
Major General Patrick Roberson, commander of US special operations, was asked by the BBC in an interview whether the two terrorists should be repatriated back to the UK, to which he replied, "we would certainly like them to be."
Both Elsheikh and Kotey are currently being held by the predominantly Kurdish US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Since first being detained by the SDF in northern Syria in early 2018, both men have been stripped of their British citizenship for fighting with Daesh.
General Roberson elaborated in the BBC interview that the US and SDF are "working very hard to make sure that the countries of origin get these foreign terrorist fighters back into their custody."
"I think the SDF and us would certainly like them to be repatriated to where they came from," he added.
No let them hang them where they are.— classicbiker (@classicbiker3) October 22, 2018
The Beatles Deash cell is suspected of beheading 27 people. The victims include US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, as well as British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines.
Other members of the clan included the infamous Mohammed Emwazi, also known as ‘Jihadi John,' who was killed in a US airstrike in 2015 and believed to be one of Daesh's chief executioners.
Despite General Roberson's comments, it is not yet entirely clear what fate has in store for Elsheikh and Kotey.
It is possible that the two will face a federal trial in the United States after the UK Crown Prosecution Service reportedly declared earlier in 2018 that there was "insufficient evidence" for the two to be tried in the UK.
Responding to probings in the House of Commons in July 2018, the UK security minister, Ben Wallace, told parliament that, "we do not think we have the evidence here to try them in the United Kingdom and we hope that a trial will be carried out in the United States."
Since then, the UK government has continued to assert that it is working with Washington on the possibility that both terrorists could be sent to and tried in a US court.
Elsheikh's mother, Maha Elgizouli, has challenged Downing Street in the High Courts, arguing that the UK's stripping off her son's citizenship and possible trial in the United States is unlawful. Miss Elgizouli has also demanded that London get assurances from the Trump administration guaranteeing the pair will not face execution if convicted in the US.
Lawyers for the UK's Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, have said that at present it is still unknown whether the two will be sent to the US for trial.
Two high-profiles detainees from the UK: lost citizenship but where should they be tried? #Foley #Kotey #elsheikh #UK They have shown no remorse. The families of the victims do not want death penalty pic.twitter.com/bRKLDhvLVC— MIGS (@MIGSinstitute) May 14, 2018
*Daesh, also known as ISIS, Islamic State is a terrorist group, banned in Russia