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Turkey ‘will send’ its jihadist prisoners home amid anger with Europe

Turkey will send members of the so-called Islamic State (IS) group it has captured back to their home countries, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Saturday.

He alleged Europe was leaving Turkey to deal with the prisoners alone.

“That is not acceptable to us. It’s also irresponsible,” he said.

“We will send the captured Daesh members to their countries,” Soylu told reporters, using another name for IS.

Turkey has captured some escaped jihadists over the last month after it launched a military incursion in northeastern Syria.

Western nations have been wrestling with how to handle suspected militants and their families seeking to return from combat zones in Iraq and Syria.

The policy of many European countries thus far, notably France and Britain, had been to refuse taking back fighters and their wives – with exceptions made for children.

The reluctance felt in Europe may stem from the worry that much of the evidence against any returning fighters may not stand up in court, a number of experts have suggested.

But the US withdrawal from Syria and Turkish military intervention is forcing Europe to rethink its strategy, raising the risk of jihadists escaping or returning home.

Kurdish officials have said almost 800 people fled a jihadist prisoner camp after the Turkish offensive into northern Syria targeted the area.

European powers have launched talks with Iraqi officials to enable jihadists being held in Syria to face trial in Iraq – but progress appeared slow.


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