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Turkey deports 11 French relatives of 'terrorist' suspects

09 December 2019, MVT 16:05
(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 14, 2019 Turkish soldiers and Turkey-backed Syrian fighters gather on the northern outskirts of the Syrian city of Manbij near the Turkish border as Turkey and its allies continue their assault on Kurdish-held border towns in northeastern Syria. (Photo by Zein Al RIFAI / AFP)
09 December 2019, MVT 16:05

Turkey has sent 11 French relatives of suspected "terrorist fighters" back home, the Turkish interior ministry said Monday, the latest in the country's renewed push to deport foreign insurgents.

"Eleven French citizens have been deported to their home country," it said in a statement.

A judicial source in France confirmed that four women and their seven children had arrived in France early on Monday.

Under a 2014 accord between France and Turkey, Paris agreed to take back insurgents trying to return home from Syria via Turkey and incarcerate them at home.

Two of the women returned Monday were already targeted by arrest warrants and will soon face a judge, while the other two were sought by police and have been placed in custody, the French source said.

Another source close to the case said the women had escaped from a camp controlled by Kurdish forces in Syria before being captured by Turkish police.

Ankara has sharply criticised Western countries for refusing to take back citizens who left home to join the Islamic State group (IS) in Syria and Iraq.

It says it has around 1,200 foreign IS members in custody.

The bulk of the foreign insurgents are being held in Syria itself, with thousands languishing in prisons and camps across the country's northeast.

Turkey's interior ministry said last week that 59 "foreign terrorists" have been deported to their home countries since November 11, when it began a new push to expel them.

Of them, 26 were sent back to the United States and Europe.

"Turkey is no one's open-air prison or hotel," said ministry spokesman Ismail Catakli, adding that Turkish authorities would deport all of the suspects.

Paris, France | AFP

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