Security forces in southern Turkey detained 22 Daesh suspects, while a court in the city of İzmir handed out prison sentences to 11 defendants in a case against the terrorist group Tuesday.
In the face of counterterrorism operations in Syria and Iraq, Daesh numbers have further dwindled with heightened crackdowns in Turkey. Turkish security forces have been involved in a long-running campaign to rid Turkey of Daesh terrorists.
Gendarme units in Hatay, a southern city bordering Syria, launched simultaneous raids in 23 locations and detained 22 suspects accused of links with the group, recruiting militants and helping them to sneak into Syria from Turkey. All but two were released with judiciary control, while security forces launched a manhunt for five fugitive suspects.
Meanwhile, the 13th High Criminal Court in İzmir handed down prison terms, between one year and eight months to nine years, to 11 defendants in a Daesh trial. The suspects were tied to Abdulgadir Masharipov, the terrorist group's militant who is currently standing trial for gunning down 39 people in an Istanbul nightclub during New Year's Eve celebrations in 2017. They were captured in İzmir after security forces discovered they shared the same safe house with Masharipov in the central city of Konya, while some among them were accused of arranging accommodation for Masharipov and other Daesh militants. The terrorist suspects were also accused of planning attacks in İzmir. The court ruled for the acquittal of 10 other defendants, including those who collaborated with authorities to give information about the terrorist group's members hiding in Turkey.
The terrorist group is blamed for a string of attacks in Turkey that killed at least 319 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 on intelligence cooperation.
According to official figures, at least 2,000 people have been arrested and 7,000 others deported in operations against Daesh in Turkey, while around 70,000 people have been 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.
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