U.S.-led coalition deals with IS foreign detainees in Syria


As the Islamic State continues its downfall in Syria, U.S.-backed militias are deciding what to do with the hundreds of foreign fighters they’ve detained.

A senior Pentagon official said Sunday that the United States would like to see foreign fighters returned to their home countries for prosecution.

The conversation resurfaced after U.S. officials confirmed that the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is an alliance of militias run by mostly the Kurdish YPG, had captured two of four militants known as the “Beatles” for their English accents.

According to one U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the United States is working with Britain to decide what will be done with the detainees. At this moment there are no plans to send them to the United States or Guantanamo Bay.

One issue with keeping the detainees in SDF detention facilities is that the facilities are reaching capacity. U.S. officials say there are thousands of Syrian IS militants in the detention centers, as well as the hundreds of foreign fighters.

They’re also worried that having a large number of detainees mixed together can lead to an increase in militant views and radicalization.

Members of the U.S.-led coalition will meet in Rome this week, where Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will emphasize the theme.

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