Posted on October 10, 2019
El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are accused of being part of an Islamic State group cell which kidnapped and murdered Western hostages in Syria.
The pair – who are from London – are in the custody of the American military, according to US media reports. In a tweet, Mr Trump described them as “the worst of the worst”. He said the decision to remove them from Syria had been taken “in case the Kurds or Turkey lose control”.
The New York Times and Washington Post say the pair have been removed from a prison run by Kurdish militia in northern Syria. The announcement comes after the US withdrew its forces from the region this week.
On Wednesday President Trump told reporters the US had transferred “some of the most dangerous IS fighters” amid fears they could escape custody as Turkish troops invade Kurdish-held territory in northern Syria.
The Kurds – who helped defeat IS in Syria and were key US allies in that fight – guard thousands of IS fighters and their relatives in prisons and camps in areas under their control. It is unclear whether they will continue to do so if fighting breaks out.