Donald Trump threatens to 'release thousands of ISIS fighters into Europe'

Donald Trump has threatened to release thousands of Isis fighters into Europe (Picture: REUTERS/Leah Millis)

Donald Trump has threatened to release thousands of ISIS fighters into Europe if countries don’t agree to take them back.

The US president made the threat as US officials warned that ISIS remains a global threat despite losing swathes of territory it held in Syria and Iraq.

Speaking outside the White House, Mr Trump said: "We have 2,500 ISIS fighters that we want Europe to take...We have thousands of ISIS fighters that we want Europe to take and let's see if they take them.

“And if they don't take them, we'll probably have to release them to Europe."

There are at least 2,000 foreign suspected ISIS fighters and members from Western countries being held in Syria by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) - a US-backed coalition fighting ISIS.

There are around 2,000 foreign suspected ISIS fighters and members from Western countries being held in Syria by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) (Picture: DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s not the first time the US President has used their release to threaten Europe.

In February he tweeted: “The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial. The Caliphate is ready to fall.

“The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them.......”

READ MORE

Dad whose twins who died after he accidentally left them in hot car has criminal case halted

Mr Trump’s latest threat come as authorities said ISIS remains a threat.

Ambassador James Jeffrey, the State Department envoy to the international coalition fighting the Islamic State, told reporters that thousands of the extremist organisation's fighters are scattered around Syria and Iraq, where officials see a "persistent, resilient, rural terrorist level of violence".

State Department counterterrorism coordinator Nathan Sales added that "the ISIS brand lives on around the world”.

He said: “ISIS branches and networks now span the African continent from east to west and north to south. They've increased the lethality of their attacks, they've expanded into new areas, and they've repeatedly targeted US interests.”

Like Mr Trump, he urged countries to take back and prosecute foreign fighters, adding: “Across the coalition, we need to prosecute ISIS leaders, fighters, financiers, and facilitators for the crimes they've committed.

“That includes building the law enforcement capacity of partner states that have the will to act but might lack the resources or expertise to do so. It also means repatriating and prosecuting foreign terrorist fighters.”

---Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK---