World, Middle East, Europe

US senator slams Macron on Daesh fighters comments

'Very disturbed by the cavalier remarks made by President Macron' on number of fighters in Syria, says Lindsey Graham

Servet Günerigök   | 04.12.2019
US senator slams Macron on Daesh fighters comments


U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham took aim at French President Emmanuel Macron for his "cavalier" remarks on European Deash/ISIS fighters.

"Very disturbed by the cavalier remarks made by President Macron about how the number of European ISIS fighters in Syria is a small problem in the grand scheme of things," Graham said on Twitter.

Graham's rebuke came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump clashed with Macron over the repatriation of Daesh/ISIS terror group fighters currently held in northeastern Syria.

Speaking to reporters during a NATO leaders summit in London, Trump criticized Europe's reluctance to take back its nationals, saying foreign fighters detained in Syria "are mostly from Europe."

He then turned to Macron and asked if the French president would "like some nice ISIS fighters?"

"I can give them to you. You can take every one you want," Trump said before Macron quickly rebuffed the U.S. president, saying "let's be serious."

"A very large number of fighters you have on the ground are fighters coming from Syria, Iraq and the region," Macron said. "It's true that you have foreign fighters coming from Europe, but this is a tiny minority of the overall problem that you have in the region."

Graham said there are hundreds of European Daesh fighters imprisoned in Syria and said the Paris and Nice attacks in France were carried out by "a handful of ISIS fighters."

In 2015, a coordinated armed attack took place in Paris, killing 130 people and wounding 368 others. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.

In Nice, a French-Tunisian man drove a truck into crowds celebrating France's National Day in Nice in 2016, killing 84 people.

"President Trump is right to insist Europeans come up with a legal system based on the reality we are fighting a war -- not a crime," said Graham.

"It is time for NATO to look at a detention system to deal with enemy combatants rather than using the traditional criminal justice system (which is ill-equipped to fight a war.)," he added.

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