Islamic State terrorists held by the Kurds in northeast Syria were removed to U.S. custody ahead of a Turkish attack Wednesday, President Trump confirmed. Two men from Britain, alleged members of ‘the Beatles’ Islamic State execution cell, are believed to be amongst those apprehended.
Both CNN and the Washington Post also reported the U.S. military had taken custody of the two fighters, while ABC said they had been transferred to a safe location.
Donald Trump took to Twitter to reveal further details:
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2019
“We are taking some of the most dangerous ISIS fighters out and we’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure,” Trump continued later, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.
“We have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters who are particularly bad and we’ve wanted to make sure nothing happened to them with respect to getting out,” he said.
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh in January last year in eastern Syria, and they were held in the north of the country by Kurdish forces.
Their cell became notorious for capturing, torturing, and murdering Western hostages, including American journalists and aid workers, and was seemingly led by the infamous ‘Jihad John’ – real name Mohammed Emwazi.
In 2014 and 2015, the militant group 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.
WATCH: Jihadi John and Four British Islamic State Militants Plot in Syria
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 26, 2017
Kotey and Elsheikh previously spoke of their membership of Islamic State, but denied membership of the brutal execution cell, as Breitbart London reported.
Elsheikh, from White City in west London, called the allegations “propaganda” and another called the killings “regrettable”.
They argued that press stories about ‘the Beatles’ were fabricated and used as a pretext to have them killed – as ‘Jihadi John’ was in a drone strike. “No fair trial, when I am ‘the Beatle’ in the media. No fair trial,” Elsheikh said.
He claimed the British government’s decision to strip them of citizenship was “illegal”, exposing them to “rendition and torture”, Elsheikh said, “being taken to any foreign land and treated in anyway and having nobody to vouch for you”.