Families say 163 Turkish citizens have joined ISIL
Fevzi KIZILKOYUN ANKARA
This image posted on a militant website on June 14, 2014 appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading away captured Iraqi soldiers dressed in plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. AP PhotoThe families of 163 Turkish citizens have recently applied to the security forces, reporting that their relatives have joined the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to fight in Syria.
According to the latest Turkish intelligence reports, there are currently around 600-700 Turks in ISIL. Reports claiming that around 3,000 Turkish citizens have joined ISIL militias have been rejected by the Turkish government.
Those reported missing by their families joined the battle after training in ISIL camps on the Syrian side, reports stated.
Seven Turks fighting with ISIL in Syria have died so far and six others have been wounded and are being treated in hospital, according to sources.
There have been reports that ISIL has set up armored training camps near the border with Turkey as the first stops for people attempting to join ISIL. These camps are also reportedly run by Turkish citizens,
Security measures have recently been intensified along the border against illegal crossings, and thousands of European jihadists were recently blacklisted by Turkey.
Ankara has long championed robust support for Syria’s fragmented opposition, but the growing influence of al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in the war-torn country has left it open to accusations that it is backing radical Islamists.