British ISIL militant apprehended trying to reach Turkey: Reuters
One of two British Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militants known for their role in the torture and killings of Western hostages in Syria was aiming to reach Turkey when he was captured by Kurdish-led forces last month, Reuters reported on Feb. 9, citing a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) source.
U.S. officials said on Feb. 8 that the SDF, a U.S.-backed militia force, had captured Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, two of four militants known as the “Beatles” for their English accents.
Kotey was captured in a rural area of Raqqa province on Jan. 24, a senior SDF source, Redur Xelil, told Reuters.
“He was intending to escape towards Turkey with cooperation and coordination with friends of his on the Turkish side. He is now under investigation with us,” Xelil said.
Xelil gave no information about the second militant, Elsheikh, the agency reported.
A senior security official in Turkey, however, accused the SDF of anti-Turkish propaganda, saying it was “nonsense” that an ISIL militant would say they were going to Turkey, and that Ankara was taking every step to eliminate ISIL militants in Turkey.
“It is not that easy to cross the border without permission, there is a wall as well,” said the official.
“Turkey is open to joint cooperation, including intelligence, with all its international partners. Turkey has been fighting with ISIL in every way both inside the country and abroad,” the official added.
Among the other two members of the “Beatles” group, Mohammed Emwazi - “Jihadi John” - was killed in 2015 in a drone strike by the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIL.
The fourth member of the gang, Aine Davis, is being held in Turkey, Agence France-Presse reported on the same day.