Turkey starts repatriation of captured ISIS jihadists

Turkey began deporting foreign ISIS militants that it apprehended in Syria to their countries of origin on Nov. 11, following Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's remarks last week regarding Ankara's determination in not keeping the jihadists in Turkey. "Turkey is not a hotel for ISIS members of others," Soylu said previously, adding that revoking citizenships of the militants will not prevent Turkey from repatriating them.

Duvar English

Turkey began repatriating foreign ISIS militants, with the first jihadist getting deported to the U.S. on Nov. 11.

A German and a Danish jihadist will also be deported on the same day, Interior Ministry spokesperson İsmail Çataklı told Anadolu Agency.

"Following the completion of the procedures in a repatriation center, a U.S. foreign terrorist fighter was deported by Directorate General of Migration Management," Çataklı said, adding that the number of militants to be deported within Nov. 11 totals three.

Seven Germans are set to be deported on Nov. 14, he also said.

The repatriation move follows Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's remarks last week regarding Turkey being "not a hotel" for foreign ISIS militants.

The minister also slammed the countries for stripping ISIS militants of their citizenship in order not to take them back, while reiterating Turkey's determination in repatriating the jihadists.

Turkey has repeatedly called on European countries, including France, to take back their citizens fighting for the jihadists.

Europeans comprise a fifth of the around 10,000 ISIS jihadists held captive in Syria by Kurdish militias. Denmark, Germany and Britain have so far revoked some citizenships.

Soylu warned on Nov. 9 that Ankara would begin to send back ISIS militants to their home countries on Nov. 11 even if their citizenships have been revoked.

Çataklı said that the legal proceedings for two Irish militants caught in Syria are about to end and they would also be repatriated soon.

“Two more German terrorists who had been captured in Syria will be deported this week. In addition, the legal proceedings for the 11 French terrorists who had been captured on the Syrian territories are in progress,” he added.

"Turkey will extradite them no matter what," Çataklı also said.

Turkey has so far deported 7,500 ISIS militants, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said last week, adding that there are currently 1,149 ISIS militants in Turkish prisons.

The country launched an offensive into northeastern Syria against the Kurdish YPG militia last month following a decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from the region.

The People's Protection Units (YPG), the main element of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and a U.S. ally against ISIS, has kept thousands of jihadists 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 Islamic State with its allies.