Turkish intelligence nabs terror suspect in Syria’s Latakia with 'pinpoint operation'

Turkish intelligence nabs terror suspect in Syria’s Latakia with 'pinpoint operation'

ANKARA

Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) has brought a terror suspect from Syria’s regime-held Latakia province to Turkey, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Sept. 12.

Yusuf Nazik, 34, was sought by Turkish authorities as one of the main suspects of the 2013 bombing in the southern Turkish border town of Reyhanlı, which killed 53 people.

He was nabbed in a “pinpoint operation” by MİT, the agency said, adding that he was brought to Turkey “from secure roads.”

Nazik, born in the southern province of Hatay’s Antakya district, confessed that he played a key part in the 2013 bombing as a coordinator between the bombers and the Syrian regime, which he said masterminded the attack. He pointed to a Syrian intelligence officer named Mohammed and codenamed “Hadji.”

Turkish courts had ruled to jail nine arrested suspects for life in February, while eight more suspects, including Nazik, remained as fugitives.

In his interrogation, Nazik told Turkish security forces that on a tip off from Syrian intelligence units, he scouted the crime scene prior to the attack and moved explosives from Syria to Turkey. He added that he procured two vehicles for the operation.

Marked in the blue category of the Interior Ministry's wanted terrorists list, Nazik called on his friends in Syria to surrender.

“I am also addressing the Syrian state: The state of Turkey is big and it will surely bring you to account,” he added in the video released by Turkish authorities on Sept. 12.

A senior Turkish official said they take the information provided by Nazik about the involvement of Syrian intelligence operatives in the 2013 Reyhanlı attack “very seriously.”

“His testimony corroborates long-standing rumors about the Assad regime’s active role in the bombing, which killed 53 innocent people. Nazik’s capture and repatriation should serve as a reminder to all other criminals that we will never stop hunting them. We will spare no effort to find you, catch you, and bring you to justice,” the official said.

Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül also described the operation as "successful."

"Our independent courts will rightfully punish those who must be punished," he said in the inauguration ceremony of a new courthouse in the Central Anatolian province of Konya on Sept. 12.

Reyhanlı attack convict gets 53 aggravated life sentences in Turkish capital