Turkey has repatriated eleven Islamic State fighters back to France after French President Emmanuel Macron accused Ankara of working alongside Islamic State proxies during its military incursion into northeast Syria.
Turkish President Recep Erdogan once again reiterated that Ankara would not be responsible for housing foreign terrorists while criticizing Western governments over their reluctance to take bake citizens who had joined the Islamic State, the Daily Express reports.
“The repatriation of foreign Isis fighters continues. In this context, 11 French nationals have been sent home,” a spokesperson for Turkey’s interior ministry said in a statement.
The eleven French nationals – four Islamic State brides and their seven children – were arrested in Turkey after escaping from a prison camp somewhere in northeastern Syria. Turkish officials have stated that the four women would be handed over to French authorities upon their arrival, while the four children would be given to social services.
Erdogan again warned western governments that he would continue to repatriate foreign terrorists to their respective countries even if their governments have stripped them of their citizenship.
“Whether [foreign Isis fighters]are stuck there at the border it doesn’t concern us. Whether they take them or not, it is not our concern,” Erdogan said while urging Western governments to “take care of your own problem”.
Between 400 and 500 French nationals are believed to be imprisoned in Kurdish-controlled northeastern Syria, including 60 Islamic State fighters. The French government has gone to great lengths to prevent its nationals who’ve joined the Islamic State from returning to Europe, arguing that they should be treated as “enemies” of the state.
In October, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian traveled to Iraq to discuss the transfer of French Islamic State members from Syria to Iraq – where they would be tried for their crimes.
Before Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria, Kurdish forces had previously held roughly 12,000 captured Islamic State members and their families in detention facilities.
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