The Italian government, with beloved national populist Matteo Salvini at the helm, has repatriated one of its citizens from Syria who’s been accused of fighting for the ISIS.
A man by the name of Samir Bougana, who also goes by the alias Abu Abdullah, was captured by Kurdish forces in Syria on the 27th of August while he was preparing to enter into Turkey.
According to a statement given by press office head of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces Mustafa Bali, after Bougana was captured, the SDF handed the Islamist fighter over to Italian authorities “at their request”.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Italy’s decision to repatriate Bougana and lauded its strong commitment to fighting against terrorism.
“With this repatriation, Italy has provided an important example to all members of the Global Coalition and the international community on how we need to work together to address the issue of foreign terrorist fighters who have traveled to fight for [IS], Pompeo said in a U.S. State Department Press Release, while making reference to the 80 states partnered to defeat ISIS.
“It is our hope that other Western European countries will follow Italy’s example and take responsibility for their citizens in Syria,” the press statement reads.
Both the Syrian Democratic Forces and the United States have urged countries to repatriate the hundreds of ISIS fighters who’ve been apprehended in Syria.
So far, Italy is one of the few – if not the only – western European country which has decided to send its citizens who’ve fought with ISIS back to their nations of origin.
The governments of Sweden and the U.K. have been much weaker on this issue.
As per the European Commission, over 42,000 foreign fighters joined terrorist organizations between 2011 and 2016, around 5,000 of whom are thought to be from Europe. Many have returned and are still living in Europe as this is being written.
The United States has continually urged nations to return its citizens who’ve fought for terrorist forces in war-torn Syria.
“The United States calls upon other nations to repatriate and prosecute their citizens detained by the SDF and commends the continued efforts of the SDF to return these foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin,” U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in separate statement.