US: 'Beatles' Members Taken Into Custody in Syria

El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey were allegedly in the notorious group
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 9, 2019 7:00 PM CDT
US: 'Beatles' Members Taken Into Custody in Syria
In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, smoke billows from targets inside Syria during bombardment by Turkish forces Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

(Newser) – US officials say two captive British militants believed to be part of an Islamic State group that beheaded hostages have been taken into American custody and moved out of Syria, the AP reports. President Trump said earlier Wednesday that the US had moved some Islamic State prisoners amid fears they could escape custody as Turkish troops invade northeastern Syria. Officials say they transferred El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey, two men who—along other British jihadis—made up the alleged ISIS cell that beheaded prisoners and were nicknamed "The Beatles" by surviving captives because of their English accents.

The cell beheaded seven American, British, and Japanese journalists and aid workers and a group of Syrian soldiers in 2014 and 2015, boasting of the butchery in videos released to the world. Turkish troops invaded northern Syria on Wednesday to push back Kurdish fighters it views as terrorists. The Kurds have been backed by the US and they captured the last of ISIS-controlled territory in Syria in March. The Kurds also hold thousands of ISIS fighters in detention centers. There was concern the detainees could gain freedom if the Kurdish forces left their guard posts to battle Turkish forces.

(Read more ISIS stories.)

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