France says it will handle Trump call to repatriate ISIS fighters 'case-by-case'

France on Monday said it will ignore a request from the Trump administration to repatriate hundreds of ISIS militants captured fighting alongside Syrian-born fighters and other foreign militants in Syria and Iraq.

The country's justice minister told a local French television station on Monday that the French government is "at this stage ... not responding to [Trump’s] demands," according to Reuters.


“There is a new geo-political context, with the U.S. withdrawal. For the time being we are not changing our policy,” justice minister Nicole Belloubet added.

France began this year to repatriate captured ISIS fighters and their wives, Reuters reports, after U.S. pressure increased following the fall of most ISIS-held territory in Iraq and Syria. Hundreds of French-born fighters captured in Syria and Iraq remain in legal limbo as their fates await deciding by several countries' governments.

As many as 150 French citizens including at least 50 adults are being held by the U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces in the northeastern part of the country, according to the news service. The French government will begin repatriating some French citizens captured in war-torn Syria and Iraq on a "case-by-case" basis, Belloubet added according to Reuters.

A senior Trump administration official pushed back against France's announcement on Monday, telling The Hill in an email that the administration "strongly believe[s] the best solution is for countries to take responsibility for their citizens."

French President Emmanuel Macron said in January that the U.S. decision to withdraw troops from Syria "cannot make us deviate from our strategic objective: eradicating Daesh," referring to an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Updated at 1:17 p.m.