Washington transfers two British jihadis from Syria into US custody

The US has removed two British militants accused of beheading hostages for the so-called Islamic State (IS) group from Syria into American custody, according to a report.

The New York Times said Britons Alexanda Kotey and El Shakee Elsheikh are among several dozen who will be taken into custody by the US military, though it was not known if the pair had already been removed from Syria.

The pair were part of a four-member British cell which was nicknamed the “Beatles” by IS due to their British accents.

Officials say they took El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey out of Syria to an undisclosed location.

Smoke billows in Syria during bombardment by Turkish forces
Smoke billows in Syria during bombardment by Turkish forces (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

President Donald Trump said earlier on Wednesday the US had transferred some IS prisoners amid fears they could escape custody as Turkish troops invade north-eastern Syria.

Turkey on Wednesday launched airstrikes, fired artillery and began a ground offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria after US troops pulled back from the area.

Mr Trump told reporters: “We are taking some of the most dangerous Isis fighters out.”

“We’ve taken them out, and we’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure,” he added.

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