UK rejects return of Islamic State fighters despite US calls

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis. (Carolyn Kaster, AP)
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis. (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

Brussels – Britain's defence secretary says the UK does not want to take back two British Islamic State members caught in Syria despite US appeals for countries to deal with citizens who've become foreign fighters.

Gavin Williamson said on Wednesday in Brussels that the two, part of a notorious British cell dubbed the Beatles, "have turned their back on British ideas, British values".

He said: "Do I want them back in the United Kingdom? No, I don't."

US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are holding thousands of ISIS detainees, including hundreds of foreign fighters.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday that "the important thing is that the countries of origin keep responsibility for them".

Williamson said that he and Mattis spoke early on Wednesday but declined to say what possible solutions they had discussed.

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