Police detained a French woman identified as Prescillia C. after she traveled to Turkey to join al-Qaida in Syria.
Daily Sabah's sister newspaper Sabah reported that the woman met a member of the terrorist group over the messaging app Telegram before traveling to Turkey. She stayed in a safe house in Istanbul's Bahçelievler district after she met with Yılmaz Ş., a Turkish member of the terrorist group. She was about to travel to Adana, a province bordering with Syria, to secretly cross into the war-torn country when she was detained at the main bus terminal in Istanbul. Police handed the suspect to officials from the French Consulate while Yılmaz Ş. was arrested.
Al-Qaida linked groups are active in Syria where the ongoing civil war led to rise of Daesh, another terrorist group with a similar ideology. Turkey have managed to stop more than 5,000 foreigners looking to join Daesh by crossing into Syria and Iraq since 2017 and a smaller number of foreign nationals aiming to join al-Qaida-linked groups in Syria.
In 2015, Hayat Boumeddiene, another Frenchwoman and a suspected accomplice of Amedy Coulibaly who gunned down five people in two shootings in France in 2015, had sneaked into Syria through Turkey before Coulibaly's attacks, taking refuge in a region controlled by Daesh in Syria. Media reports say Turkish officials monitored her activities while Boumeddiene stayed in Turkey and sought further intelligence from their French counterparts about the suspect, a request that France ignored.