WASHINGTON – For sheer hypocrisy, it’s hard to match the European nations that are refusing responsibility for dozens of their nationals who became jihadist “foreign fighters” over the past five years and are now warehoused in makeshift prisons in northeast Syria.
U.S. officials say that about 2,000 foreign fighters from more than 50 nations are among the roughly 10,000 captured Islamic State fighters held in several dozen ramshackle prisons in Syria.
The detention facilities are run by the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish militia that partnered with a U.S.-led coalition to defeat Islamic State. The other 8,000 captives are Syrian and Iraqi fighters.
The Pentagon and State Department have implored European nations to repatriate their nationals for trial and imprisonment, or at least pay the SDF to hold them temporarily. But so far, most European nations have refused.