Int’l working group on foreign fighters to meet in Istanbul: FM
An international working group is going to hold a specific meeting to deal with the foreign fighters and their family members captured in Syria, the Turkish foreign minister has announced, underlining that Turkey is fully ready to cooperate with all countries on the continued fight against ISIL.
“At a meeting in Washington, we have proposed to establish a working group, and all countries have supported it. The working group will come together in the coming days in Istanbul and will discuss ‘How we will realize the repatriation of the foreign fighters?’” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told the Turkish Parliament late Dec. 15 during the budget talks of his ministry.
The meeting Çavuşoğlu refers to is the extraordinary meeting of the anti-ISIL coalition composed by more than 60 nations in Washington in mid-November.
The issue of the foreign fighters came to the agenda after the YPG released captured ISIL members in northeastern Syria and their family members in reaction to Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring. Turkey has re-captured almost all these fugitives and started to send all ISIL members under its control to their origin countries.
“We have re-captured more than 300 Daesh members and their family members who were released by the YPG after the start of our operation,” Çavuşoğlu informed, using an Arabic acronym of the ISIL.
“Some of them are in the camps or in prison. We are sending them back to their countries in cooperation with our Interior Ministry. The only solution to this problem is the repatriation of all these foreign terrorist fighters by the origin countries. Revoking their citizenship will not work. We are ready to cooperate,” he stated.
Turkey has already deported dozens of foreign fighters to European countries such as France, Germany, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium and so on.
Daesh is our enemy
Çavuşoğlu made clear that Turkey’s commitment in fighting against ISIL is there and strong because this group is an enemy of Turkey.
“Thus, we have to deal with all the aspects (of the fight against ISIL) including the foreign fighters,” he stated, recalling that Turkey is acting as the co-chairman of a working group on the foreign fighter under the anti-ISIL coalition.
Rehabilitation may also be needed
Another important aspect of this problem concerns the children and spouses of these foreign fighters, Çavuşoğlu said. “Are we going to be able to reintegrate them into our societies through rehabilitation? What shall we do? We all have to discuss these issues,” he underlined.
It’s believed that there are around 60,000 children and women in the camps in the northeastern Syria in areas under the control of the YPG or other forces.