Turkey Begins Deporting Detained ISIS Militants

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Al-WaghtTurkey has started deportation of captured ISIS militants sending back an American back to his country. A spokesman for the interior ministry said on Ankara will also soon deport seven Germans, Reuters reported. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu had warned last week that Ankara would begin to send back Islamic State militants to their home countries on Monday even if their citizenships have been revoked. “One American foreign terrorist fighter whose proceedings are completed has been deported,” ministry spokesman Ismail Catakli was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency.

“Travel plans for seven foreign terrorist fighters of German origin at deportation centers have been completed, they will be deported on Nov 14,” he added. Broadcaster NTV quoted Catakli as saying that “three more ISIS militants at deportation centers will be sent back today.” Turkey aims to repatriate around 2,500 militants, the majority of whom will be sent to European Union nations, state broadcaster TRT Haber said, adding there were currently 813 militants at 12 deportation centers in the country. 

Turkey launched an offensive into northeastern Syria against the Kurdish YPG militia last month following a decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw US troops from the region. The YPG, the main element of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and a US ally, has kept thousands of militants in jails across northeast Syria. 

The Turkish offensive prompted widespread concern over the fate of the prisoners, with Turkey’s Western allies and the SDF warning it could hinder the fight against ISIS and aid its resurgence. Turkey, which views the YPG as a terrorist group linked with insurgent Kurdish militants on its own soil, has rejected those concerns and vowed to combat ISIS with its allies. It has repeatedly called on European countries, including France, to take back their citizens fighting for the militants. 

Europeans comprise a fifth of the around 10,000 ISIS terrorists held captive in Syria by Kurdish militias. Denmark, Germany and Britain have so far revoked some citizenships. Last week, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was cited as saying that there are 1,201 ISIS prisoners in Turkish jails, while Turkey had captured 287 militants in Syria. 

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