174 Turkish ISIL militants surrendered in Iraq after liberation of Mosul, Tal Afar
Fevzi Kızılkoyun – ANKARA
AFP photoA total of 174 Turkish militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have surrendered to the Iraqi army, Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) and Peshmerga forces in Iraq after the liberation of Mosul and Tal Afar from the jihadist group.
The situation of the militants, who surrendered with their families, are under close surveillance by Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT), while security precautions on the border have been stepped up as a measure against ISIL militants crossing into Turkey.
The jihadist group reportedly has started seeking new strategies after losing territories in Syria’s Raqqa and the entire control over the cities of Mosul and Tal Afar in Iraq. After operations in Iraq, many of the jihadists in the area fled to Syria, while half of them surrendered to different Iraqi groups and authorities.
Authorities have determined that there are 174 Turks among the ISIL militants who surrendered to the Iraqi army, Hashd al-Shaabi and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces. While MİT is following the situation closely, the steps to be taken regarding the militants will be determined in the upcoming days.
In addition, a warning was sent to Turkish border units for them to be on high alert in case ISIL militants attempted to infiltrate into the country.
“The ISIL terrorist organization has shown major losses with the latest operations. The militants who are fleeing from the group, which is in the process of breaking down in Iraq and Syria, may enter Turkey through human smugglers or by disguising themselves as refugees,” the notice read, adding that “necessary sensitivity on the issue must be shown.”
Intelligence units, meanwhile, examined magazines, websites and social media accounts linked to ISIL, determining that ISIL “commanders” sent encrypted messages to the jihadists with orders for them to stage attacks wherever they are.
Turkey is reportedly among the targets of the militants who are planning to stage “lone-wolf” attacks.
Turkish authorities have been on high alert against ISIL and staging raids on jihadist cells. With the operations being carried out by intelligence and anti-terror units, some 2,907 people were detained over their links to ISIL in the first eight months of this year.
Elsewhere, it has emerged that two of the three sons of an academic have died while fighting alongside ISIL in Tal Afar.
An assistant professor from Dicle University, identified only by the initials Ş.İ., in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır previously said the three boys had joined ISIL. Authorities have found that the boys, identified only as Süleyman Bengi and Dilar, had died in clashes.
Another one of the siblings, Dilşat, reportedly escaped the clashes in Tal Afar and crossed into Raqqa. He reached out to his family some 45 days ago and told them that he wanted to escape ISIL, but the group was executing those who attempted to do so.
His family said they never heard from him afterwards.