Trump urges European allies to take back hundreds of ISIS fighters captured in Syria

  • "The Caliphate is ready to fall," he said on the social media site. "The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them..."
  • U.S.-backed fighters in Syria are poised to capture the so-called Islamic State's last, tiny enclave on the Euphrates, Reuters reported Saturday citing the battle commander, bringing its self-declared caliphate to the brink of total defeat.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.
T.J. Kirkpatrick | Bloomberg | Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.

The United States is asking its European allies to "take back over 800" ISIS fighters that have been captured in Syria and put them on trial, President Donald Trump tweeted late on Saturday.

"The Caliphate is ready to fall," he said on the social media site. "The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them..."

U.S.-backed fighters in Syria are poised to capture the so-called Islamic State's last, tiny enclave on the Euphrates, Reuters reported Saturday citing the battle commander, bringing its self-declared caliphate to the brink of total defeat.

Jiya Furat, the commander of the assault by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said they had cornered the remaining militants in a neighborhood of Baghouz village near the Iraqi border. Trump has sworn to pull U.S. forces from Syria after ISIS's territorial defeat, raising questions over the fate of Washington's Kurdish allies and Turkish involvement in northeast Syria.

Trump said Saturday that the U.S. is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that had been captured and put them on trial.

The issue has come to the fore in Britain, in particular, after a recent interview with Shamima Begum — a Briton who traveled to Syria when she was 15 has been found in a refugee camp in northern Syria.

Now 19, Begum is also heavily pregnant. In the interview carried out in the camp, Begum said she did not regret joining ISIS. The U.K. government has taken a hard line, with the interior minister saying he "will not hesitate" to prevent the return of Britons who join the terror group ISIS.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference Saturday, former U.K. Finance Minister George Osborne told CNBC's Hadley Gamble that the government should allow Begum to return.

"I don't think it is possible for Britain to say this is all someone else's problem (and that) we are going to leave them in some other part of the world or not allow them to enter the U.K.," he said.

"I think it's a bit of justice and actually a bit of compassion. Just making people stateless is not really a solution and it is asking other countries to deal with our problems when they've got their own problems," he added.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, also speaking to CNBC in Munich, said that he had concern over the "so many foreign fighters" who were trying to return home now that ISIS had collapsed as a major fighting force.

Stoltenberg said NATO members had "good ways to share information" but described the return of potential terrorists back into domestic society as "a challenge for all of us."

—CNBC's David Reid and Reuters contributed to this article.