A Syrian man identified only by his initials I.T. was captured in the northwestern Turkish province of Bursa yesterday. The suspect was an "emir," a high-ranking member of the terrorist group Daesh, security sources say. He was commanding a large number of militants in Syria's Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor.
The operation followed an investigation by Bursa police who discovered I.T. had left Syria and was hiding out in the province. He was taken into custody after a raid on the house where he was hiding in, inBursa's Yıldırım district. Security forces in the province have captured 55 Daesh suspects in the past fifteen days. The province south of Istanbul is far from border cities where the terror suspects from Syria try to sneak into Turkey, but like other big cities in the west, it attracts refugees and migrants. Authorities are concerned that Daesh members can mingle with migrants to avoid detection. Earlier this month, two Daesh terrorists listed with a red notice on Interpol's most wanted list were captured in Bursa's Mudanya district. They were identified as a Dutch woman of Moroccan descent and another Dutch citizen.
Since 2014, when Daesh launched its first attack on Turkish soil by killing police and military officers at a security checkpoint in central Turkey, security forces have been involved in a long-running campaign to rid Turkey of Daesh terrorists. The terrorist group is blamed for a string of terror attacks in the country that killed dozens of people over the past three years in Istanbul and Ankara as well as cities in the southeast.
Foreigners looking to join Daesh in Syria have mostly attempted to use Turkey as their crossing point. Turkey has taken significant measures against foreign Daesh members and has urged Western countries for intelligence cooperation. According to official figures, some 2,000 people were arrested and 7,000 others deported in operations against Daesh in Turkey, while around 70,000 people were denied entry to Turkey over their suspected links to the terrorist group. Security forces have also foiled at least 10 attack plots. Figures show that some 18,500 suspects are currently being monitored for links to the terrorist group after being identified at airports upon arrival.