The capture of the last stronghold of so-called Islamic State territory in Syria could mark the end of a four-year campaign against the group. (Picture: Islamic State)
US president Donald Trump has said Britain and other European allies should "take back" more than 800 so-called Islamic State (IS) fighters captured in Syria.
President Trump warned the IS fighters could "permeate Europe" and called on Britain, France and Germany to "step up" and put the prisoners on trial in their countries.
He said: "The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them.
"The US does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go."
He added: "We do so much, and spend so much - Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!"
Former head of the Army, Lord Dannatt, backed President Trump’s call telling Sky News: “They’ve got to come back to this country, they’ve got to be held while they’re talked to, and if there is sufficient evidence against any of them or many of them then they’ve got to be put through due process and be imprisoned if that is the right thing to do.”
Lord Dannatt also told the programme Britain and other countries must "take responsibility for their citizens".
"Taking responsibility means that we bring them back, we talk to them, we investigate them, and if there are charges that could properly be laid against them then that should be the case and they should be put through the judicial process and punished accordingly.
He added: "But I think it's important that we do treat these people fairly. As I say I think how we treat them will be seen by other minority populations in our country and that will affect how they behave in the future. It's really important we get this right."
The comments from President Trump come after ministerial differences of opinion relating to the repatriation of foreign fighters and their relations to the UK - provoked by the case of 19-year-old Shamima Begum.
Ms Begum ran away to IS-controlled Syria four years after leaving east London. She has now given birth to a boy in a refugee camp there but wants to return to the UK. Two previous children she had died in the country. The teenager insists she's not a threat.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned he "will not hesitate" to prevent the return of Britons who travelled to join IS, but Justice Secretary David Gauke told Sky News "we can't make people stateless".