clearn.png
Tuesday October 22nd, 2019 8:29PM

US moves 2 British IS members known as 'Beatles' from Syria

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two British militants believed to be part of an Islamic State group that beheaded hostages and was known as "The Beatles" have been moved out of a detention center in Syria and are in American custody, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

President Donald Trump said earlier Wednesday that the U.S. has moved some of the Islamic State prisoners amid fears some could escape custody as Turkey invades northeast Syria.

The two men, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey, along with other British jihadis, allegedly made up the IS cell nicknamed "The Beatles" by surviving captives because of their English accents. In 2014 and 2015, the militants held more than 20 Western hostages in Syria and tortured many of them. It beheaded seven American, British and Japanese journalists and aid workers and a group of Syrian soldiers, boasting of the butchery in videos released to the world.

U.S. officials said the two were taken out of Syria by U.S. military and law enforcement personnel to ensure they did not escape if security broke down as a result of the Turkish incursion. So far they are the only two IS militants removed from Syria by the U.S., but officials say a number of others could also be moved if needed.

Another official said the two men were taken to Iraq out of an abundance of caution, adding that the United States is still fully committed to seeing them brought to justice.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss military movements.

Turkey is attacking the U.S.-backed Syrian Defense Forces, a Kurdish force that battled the Islamic State group alongside American troops and now is responsible for guarding thousands of detained militants.

But guarding those prisoners is now expected to be less of a priority for the Kurdish forces as they rush to defend their territory against the invading Turkish military.

Trump told reporters at the White House that some of the "most dangerous" had been moved, but he provided no details. Although just the two have been relocated so far, but thousands of other Islamic State group detainees remain in custody and there are no immediate concerns the Kurds will completely abandon the facilities.

"We're putting them in different locations where it's secure," Trump said.

The U.S. officials said that some Kurds left the prisons to join the fight but did not flee in large numbers. The officials said operations against remaining members of the Islamic State group are on hold following the invasion Wednesday by Turkey, which sees the Kurds as a threat and is trying to create a buffer zone between the territory held by the SDF and the Syrian border.

The two British men were captured in January in eastern Syria by the Kurdish forces amid the collapse of IS. Their detention set off a debate in the U.S. and Europe over how to prosecute their citizens who joined IS.

Among the journalists they killed was American James Foley, who was first, followed by fellow Americans Steven Sotloff and Peter Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and Japanese journalists Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto. The beheadings, often carried out on camera, horrified the world soon after IS took over much of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

In March, Kurdish and U.S. forces cleared the last members of the Islamic State group from what was left of their self-declared caliphate, which once sprawled across a large part of Iraq and Syria.

U.S. officials said American forces are not out doing patrols looking for Islamic State group fighters because their Kurdish partners are more focused on the Turkish fight. But they said U.S. operations could restart quickly if needed.

About 30 to 50 U.S. troops were moved out of the way from two outposts in the border region. There are a number of U.S. forces in other bases just outside the so-called safe zone as well as in Manbij and other locations around the country. They have not been moved but are mainly staying in place to avoid attacks.

There are about 2,500 Islamic State foreign fighters being detained in Syria, along with about 10,000 fighters from Syria and Iraq.

Trump and other U.S. officials have repeatedly pressed other nations across Europe and the Middle East to take back the detainees from their countries. But international leaders have been largely reluctant and have been slow to take any back.

"They should go back, by the way, they should go back to Europe. Many of them came from Europe. And they should go back to Germany and France," Trump said Wednesday.

Trump said other leaders told him they didn't want the detainees.

"We don't want them either," he said. "Nobody wants them but they're bad and somebody has to watch over 'em."

__

Associated Press writers Sarah El Deeb in Beirut and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Entertainment, AP Online Recordings News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Politician charged in human trafficking adoption scheme
Court records show the assessor of Arizona's most populous county has been accused of human smuggling in an adoption fraud scheme that brought pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. to give up their children for adoption
7:12PM ( 10 minutes ago )
US moves 2 British IS members known as 'Beatles' from Syria
Two British militants believed to be part of an Islamic State group that beheaded hostages and was known as "The Beatles" have been moved out of a detention center in Syria and are in American custody
7:11PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Sanders: I misspoke when I mentioned slowing campaign pace
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he "misspoke" when he told reporters he may slow his frenetic campaigning pace after his recent heart attack
7:07PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Defying impeachment inquiry, Trump makes charge more certain
The White House's letter vowing to defy an "illegitimate" inquiry has put President Donald Trump on a more certain path to impeachment
6:39PM ( 42 minutes ago )
Trump's Syria announcement blindsided many GOP supporters
When it came to President Donald Trump's announcement that U.S. forces would no longer protect Syrian Kurds from a Turkish invasion, his supporters knew as little as his critics
6:29PM ( 53 minutes ago )
'Welcome to Minneapolis': Trump rally roils liberal bastion
President Donald Trump is headed to the liberal stronghold of Minneapolis for his first reelection rally since impeachment talk heated up
6:23PM ( 59 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Thousands mourn Mexican singer José José at homage
Thousands of fans of the late Mexican singer José José have turned out along major boulevards in the capital to catch a glimpse of the hearse carrying his ashes
6:26PM ( 56 minutes ago )
Woman accuses Matt Lauer of rape; former anchor denies claim
A woman who worked at NBC News claims that former anchor Matt Lauer raped her at a hotel while on assignment for the Sochi Olympics
5:04PM ( 2 hours ago )
Bedbound and 'bored stiff' Ozzy Osbourne cancels tour dates
Ozzy Osbourne says he's going off the rails of the crazy train while stuck at home with health woes, but plans to be back on track soon
4:45PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Are we alone? Nobel Prize goes to 3 who tackled cosmic query
The Nobel Prize in Physics goes to three scientists for tackling some of the most basic questions in the cosmos and humanity: How did we get here, and are we alone?
5:10PM ( 1 day ago )
Eagles plan massive 'Hotel California' performances on tour
Eagles are planning massive performances of their album "Hotel California" during 2020 tour
11:07AM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Nobel-winning fan chides Dylan for missing pomp
Princeton University cosmologist James Peebles answered a 5:30 a.m. phone call thinking "it's either something very wonderful or it's something horrible," then learned he won a Nobel Prize in Physics
9:35AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Recordings News
Politician charged in human trafficking adoption scheme
Court records show the assessor of Arizona's most populous county has been accused of human smuggling in an adoption fraud scheme that brought pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. to give up their children for adoption
7:12PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Sanders: I misspoke when I mentioned slowing campaign pace
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he "misspoke" when he told reporters he may slow his frenetic campaigning pace after his recent heart attack
7:07PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Evidence from ex-Dallas cop's murder trial fuels mistrust
Evidence from a former Dallas police officer's trial for killing her neighbor has fueled new questions about whether accused officers are treated differently than other suspects
7:04PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Trump to get involved in crash involving diplomat's wife
President Donald Trump says he's planning to get involved in the case of an American diplomat's wife who left the U.K. after becoming a suspect in a fatal wrong-way crash
7:04PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Cole looks to close out ALDS for Astros against Rays
Gerrit Cole looks to win 18th straight decision as Astros meet Rays in decisive Game 5 of AL Division Series
7:01PM ( 21 minutes ago )