Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 19 January 2020

Turkey says it captured 'important' ISIS figure in Syria

Ankara said last week that about 1,200 ISIS militants were in Turkish prisons

  Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned EU nations that he could send ISIS prisoners back to Europe. EPA
  Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned EU nations that he could send ISIS prisoners back to Europe. EPA

Turkey has captured an “important” figure within ISIS in Syria, the country’s interior minister has announced.

Suleyman Soylu did not identify the figure, or provide further details, but said the suspect is still being interrogated.

The announcement followed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s warning to EU nations that he could send ISIS prisoners back to Europe over the bloc’s decision to sanctions over unauthorised oil drilling off Cyprus.

“You should revise your stance toward Turkey, which at the moment holds so many IS members in prison and at the same time controls those in Syria,” Mr Erdogan said.

“These gates will open and these IS members who have started to be sent to you will continue to be sent. Then you can take care of your own problem."

Turkey deported citizens of the United States, Denmark and Germany on Monday and announced plans to soon expel seven other German nationals, two Irish nationals and 11 French nationals.

Turkey said last week that about 1,200 ISIS militants were in Turkish prisons and 287 ISIS members, including women and children, were captured during Turkey’s offensive in Syria, launched last month.

Turkey has been publicizing its efforts to catch IS members, following criticism that its recent military offensive to drive Syrian Kurdish fighters from northeast Syrian would lead to an IS resurgence.

Last week, Turkey announced it had captured and detained several members of the family of the late-ISIS leader, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, including one of his wives, his sister and a daughter.

Al Baghdadi blew himself up during an October 26 raid by US special forces on his heavily fortified safe house in the Syrian province of Idlib.

Updated: November 13, 2019 04:32 PM

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