Turkey detains 23 ISIL suspects and 21 children on Syria border
AA PhotoTurkey has detained 23 suspected Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants along with 21 children who were trying to infiltrate Turkey from Syria, the Turkish army has said.
The suspects, whose nationalities were not disclosed, were captured on Jan. 23 as they tried to enter Elbeyli, a district in the southeastern province of Kilis.
“Twenty-three people suspected of being Daesh terror group members, together with 21 children, were caught,” said the army in a written statement, without giving any other details. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for ISIL and commonly used by Turkish officials to refer to ISIL.
Turkey has been under pressure to step up security against suspected ISIL militants operating in the country, after initial criticism that it acted too slowly to recognize the threat.
After a string of deadly attacks inside Turkey blamed on ISIL over the past several months, Ankara has intensified efforts to improve border security, with the army reporting the capture of ISIL militants almost daily.
ISIL was blamed for a bomb that killed four people at a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) rally in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on June 5, 2015. An ISIL militant also killed 33 civilians on July 20, 2015, at the Amara Cultural Center in the southeastern district of Suruç. Two ISIL militants then killed at least 100 people attending a peace rally in Ankara on Oct. 10, 2015, in the deadliest attack in the country’s history. On Jan. 12, the group was also blamed for a suicide attack that killed 10 German tourists near the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.