10 foreigners, including Tunisian who 'lied to police,' detained near Turkey's Syria border
Waheed Ahmed (C), 22, had flown to Turkey from Birmingham Airport on March 30. DHA photo
Turkish security forces arrested 10 foreign nationals on April 7 for attempting to cross into Syria, Turkish officials have said.
The suspects from Switzerland, Kosovo, Syria, Tajikistan and Russia were seized in the southern Turkish province of Gaziantep, the Gaziantep Governor’s Office said in a statement.
The Swiss suspect, named O.A.M.B, was charged with being a member of a terror organization.
The arrests came hours after the governor’s office announced two Russian citizens believed to have been trying to join militants fighting in Syria had been deported.
In a separate incident, a Tunisian national, who went to the Turkish police in Gaziantep demanding his return to Tunisia, was arrested after the police learned he had fought alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) for a year in Syria, Anadolu Agency reported.
Ayoub Fekih, 29, lied to the Turkish police about his activities in Syria and said he wanted to return to his country. Turkish police questioned him and opened an investigation into the case. Fekih then confessed that he passed into Syria via Turkey illegally on Feb. 18, 2014, and joined an ISIL training camp west of Aleppo. He was wounded in a fight and then decided to return to his country.
A local court in Gaziantep arrested Fekih on Feb. 9 on charges of “being a member of a terrorist organization” and he faces up to 10 years in jail.
Fekih said ISIL militants are given code names and trained to follow orders without any hesitation or questioning.
“My code name was Ebu Usame during the trainings. I was told not to tell my real name to anyone and all militants communicate via their code names. Nobody questions the orders, but only complies with them,” Fekih told police.
Meanwhile, nine Syria-bound British citizens who were taken into custody on April 1 in the southern provinces of Hatay and Gaziantep, are set to return Britain as soon as official procedures have been completed, Turkish security authorities said April 7.
They were originally scheduled to be deported back to the U.K. on April 4, after the Turkish authorities foiled their alleged attempts to illegally enter Syria and join militant groups, including ISIL.
Turkish intelligence officers said on April 3 that Waheed Ahmed, 22, had flown to Turkey from Birmingham Airport on March 30, while Maboob Yasin, 23, Habib Yasin, 25, Zareeda Bi, 48, Samia Bi, 23, and four children, had flown from Manchester Airport three days prior.
They were not part of a watch list of alleged people trying to travel to Syria.
Turkish authorities are continuing with the process, which will ban their entry to Turkey in the future.
Cooperation between Turkish and U.K. police has intensified after three British girls went missing from East London in early February and reportedly arrived in Turkey to cross into Syria.
Turkey shares an 800-kilometer-long border with Syria.