Turkey starts repatriating IS jihadists

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu had warned that Ankara would begin to send back Islamic State militants to their home countries even if their citizenships have been revoked

Turkey starts returning IS fighters, deports US national

Turkey said on Monday (11 November) it had deported two captives from Islamic State, a German and an American, starting a programme to repatriate detainees that has caused friction with its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies since it launched an offensive in northern Syria.

"One American foreign terrorist fighter was deported from Turkey after completing the procedures", he said.

The Turkish government plans to also repatriate seven German nationals and 11 French citizens.

Turkey captured many IS fighters in recent operations in Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan wave as they board a plane before a visit to the United States, in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019.

Turkey has not confirmed whether those being repatriated were seized in Syria, or in Turkish territory.

The jihadists to be deported were mostly women, a source working on the case said.

Turkey has begun the repatriation of captured foreign nationals suspected of being Islamic State militants. The French government says they will be arrested as they leave the airplane.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said they could not be denied entry to Germany if they were indeed German citizens.

Turkey reached truce agreements with Russian Federation and the United States last month that halted a Turkish offensive in Syria and forced Syrian Kurdish fighters to retreat from the Turkish border. Deal with them how you want, ' Soylu warned the West on Friday. Most of the time it is done secretly.

Turkey has put more pressure on European countries to take responsibility for citizens who became jihadists. "Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand (Syria)", he said at a White House news briefing.

While Turkey has quietly deported members of Isis for years, Ankara has now brought the issue to the fore after facing condemnation from European allies over its assault on US-backed Kurdish fighters across the border in Syria, which Ankara considers a terrorist threat. He said they include three men, five women and two children.

"They will be deported on November 14".

The decision to impose economic sanctions on Ankara follows a separate move last month to stop arms sales to Turkey over its offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia in northeast Syria.

Erdogan has said Turkey is not a "hotel" for ISIL fighters and criticised the West for its reluctance to take back citizens who joined the ranks of the armed group as it sought to establish a "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Several European countries, including Britain, have stripped IS fighters of their nationalities, to prevent their return.

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