Turkey deports some of 8 Germany-bound Moroccan recruits of DAESH: official

Published 19.11.2015 00:00
Updated 19.11.2015 10:00

Turkey has deported some of eight Moroccans detained and questioned on arrival at Istanbul's main airport over suspected DAESH links, a Turkish government official said.

The eight, who said they had arrived at Atatürk Airport from Casablanca for a holiday, had been arrested on suspicion of having links to DAESH.

"The individuals were detained in accordance with the assessment of on-site profilers, who flagged the Moroccan nationals as terror suspects," the government official said.

"While some of the detainees have been deported, others remain in custody pending their interrogation."

The official did not say how many were still being held.

He said authorities were unable to authenticate a document allegedly outlining the group's travel itinerary, which appeared in the Turkish media. Authorities were also unable to confirm whether the individuals were attempting to enter Europe by disguising themselves as refugees.

Turkish authorities have detained more than 1,000 people on suspicion of links to terrorist groups since the beginning of the year, in raids that have been stepped up since Ankara declared what it described as a "synchronized war on terror" in July. Around 300 have been formally charged.

Police also detained 41 Moroccan nationals at Atatürk Airport earlier this month after they were flagged by expert profilers at the airport. They were deported the same day, the official said.

Turkey, which shares a lengthy border with Syria, is a popular crossing point into Syria for foreign fighters. It is also popular among Syrian refugees trying to cross into Europe because of the country's close proximity to Greece and Bulgaria. Thus, Turkey seeks better coordination with European countries to reduce refugee flows and terrorist activities.

Turkey has been hit by several DAESH attacks, including a twin suicide bombing in Ankara last month that killed 102 citizens and wounded over 200. Turkish security forces also continue to crack down on DAESH militants and launch raids against terrorist cells. Security forces have detained around 1,000 DAESH-linked suspects, expelled nearly 2,000 suspected foreign nationals and banned some 15,000 others from entering the country.

Turkey was one of the first countries to include DAESH on its list of terror organizations in 2013. The Turkish army said in a statement on Wednesday that one suspected DAESH member attempting to secretly enter Turkey from Syria was shot by soldiers, while 21 others, including 9 children, were apprehended at the border.

Related: Germany-bound Moroccan recruits of DAESH nabbed in Istanbul

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