The US military has taken custody of two high-profile British Islamic State (IS) suspects previously held in Syria by Kurdish-led fighters and moved them out of the country.
The move comes amid Turkey’s incursion on Wednesday into northeastern Syria where thousands of IS prisoners are being held.
In a tweet, US President Donald Trump said the decision to remove Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh from Syria had been taken “in case the Kurds or Turkey lose control”.
In case the Kurds or Turkey lose control, the United States has already taken the 2 ISIS militants tied to beheadings in Syria, known as the Beetles, out of that country and into a secure location controlled by the U.S. They are the worst of the worst!
The two men were being detained with the goal of putting them on trial in the United States, a senior US official told the Washington Post.
The official said the two men, who have been accused of the murder of several Western hostages, had been taken to Iraq.
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump said he had taken a “certain number” of IS fighters out of Syria, as fears mount that Kurdish-led fighters may be unable to keep guarding them amid the Turkish operation.
The Washington Post said around 40 individuals, all considered important IS members, had been taken into US custody.