Last Islamic State "Beatles" Captured in Syria

Islamic State 'Beatles' duo 'should be tried at the Hague'

Syrian Kurdish fighters have captured the last two fugitives of the so-called Islamic State's "Beatles" cell, which was notorious for beheading Western hostages on camera, The New York Times and BBC reported Thursday, citing anonymous American officials.

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh - whose group slaughtered at least 27 prisoners - were detained by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in January.

An image grab taken from a video released by the Islamic State (IS) shows a masked militant holding a knife and gesturing as he speaks to the camera in a desert landscape before a beheading.

His identity was revealed two years ago when British intelligence officials said they believed the former fairground mechanic from White City in west London was part of the cell.

The US official did not give any information on the condition of the two or what would happen to them.

The pair were members of a four-strong group of foreign fighters dubbed "The Beatles" by their captives because of their distinctive British accents.

Along with "Jihadi John" Mohammed Emwazi and Aine Davis, they are believed to have tortured and beheaded dozens of people.

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Ringleader Emwazi was killed in a drone strike in 2015 and Davis is in jail in Turkey after being convicted a year ago on terrorism charges.

A US official told the NY Times that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured the two in early January in eastern Syria and handed them over to USA authorities in the country. "Kotey has also acted as an ISIL recruiter and is responsible for recruiting several United Kingdom nationals to join the terrorist organization".

The pair were handed over to United States special forces, according to the New York Times, with their identities confirmed using fingerprints and other measurements.

The families of the men were not aware of the capture until the story was reported by news organisations, they told the BBC this evening.

A USA -led coalition has pushed Islamic State out of most of the territory it controlled in Iraq and Syria, but its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who proclaimed the self-styled caliphate in 2014, remains at large. In the beginning of November, it lost Deir-al Zour in Syria on the same day as it lost al-Qaim in Iraq.

Sotloff was kidnapped in August 2013 after crossing into Syria from Turkey.

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