ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – France will ignore the United States’ call to repatriate citizens who joined the so-called Islamic State in Syria, and instead will deal with the fighters on a “case-by-case” basis, a French minister said on Monday.
“There is a new geo-political context, with the US withdrawal. For the time being, we are not changing our policy,” French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet told France 2 television.
“At this stage, France is not responding to [US President Donald Trump’s] demands,” she added.
Earlier this month, the United States called on countries to bring home thousands of Islamic State members which the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured in Syria.
Some senior Syrian Kurdish officials say the number of captured Islamic State fighters has surpassed 1,500 after the recent offensive in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province.
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Trump renewed that call on Saturday when he urged European allies to take back hundreds of Islamic State foreign fighters in the war-torn country.
In January, France said Paris would prosecute Islamic State members if Syrian Kurds deport them.
So far, European states have been reluctant to bring back Islamic State fighters or women accused of membership in the extremist group and their children who are stuck in Syria.
Many EU countries fear that due to the lack of evidence, Islamic State supporters could be quickly released once they appear in court after returning home.
The United Kingdom, meanwhile, has refused to take back their citizens who joined the Islamic State and has reportedly stripped them of their citizenships, the Associated Press reported.