14-year-old Turkish ISIL militant found at border, injured
Taylan's condition was improving after he underwent an eight-hour operation.A 14-year-old Turkish child who joined Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants was found in a serious condition at the Akçakale border gate with Syria, daily Milliyet has reported.
It was revealed that the young teenager, identified as Taylan Ö.Y., left his home in Ankara for Syria with five other friends, some 45 days before being delivered to Turkish soldiers at the border gate in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.
He was immediately rushed to the district hospital on June 22, where he underwent an eight-hour operation.
Crosses border for 20 Liras
According to daily Milliyet’s report, Taylan dropped out from school and was working as a garlic vendor in the streets of Ankara, like many members of his family.
Along with his five friends, he paid 20 Turkish Liras (9 U.S. dollars) to smugglers in the southeastern Kilis province to cross the border into the Syrian region controlled by ISIL militants. His friends then returned to Turkey after they were brought to Raqqa, but Taylan was taken into intensive training by the militants. He reportedly said they received military training and Quran lessons in the morning, while they played sports in the afternoons. He had also contacted his father, telling him that he did not intend to return to Turkey.
Taylan was then heavily injured after being hit by shrapnel. Due to his life-threatening condition he was brought back to the Turkish border.
Taylan told Doğan News Agency he regretted joining ISIL and not returning to Turkey as his friends had done. “Fighting erupted one day when I was outside in the garden. My leg was injured following an explosion and then I fainted. They took me to the border with a car and left me,” he said.
The people delivering him to the soldiers had identified him as Syrian citizen Mehmed al-Ahmad, born in 1998.
The police only learned Taylan’s real identity after his father came to the hospital a day after the surgery, after being contacted by his son.
The father said the police even brought translators in order to interrogate the young teenager when he arrived at the hospital, adding that Taylan had been afraid to speak until he arrived. Taylan’s condition is reportedly improving, doctors have said.
He also said his son joined ISIL after chatting with some people on the Internet. “He escaped from home in the name of ‘jihad’ after he was brainwashed and went to Syria. I ask all of the authorities to strengthen security measures at the border to prevent more families from suffering,” he said.
“What we have been through should be a lesson for all of the mothers and fathers. We are secular, but devout people; we have never supported ISIL’s point of view and have nothing to do with them. People should pay more attention to what their children do on the Internet to not to find themselves in the same situation as us,” he added.
Reports claiming that around 3,000 Turkish citizens, mainly from Istanbul’s suburbs, have joined ISIL militias have been rejected by the Turkish government.