Midnight operation captures top suspect for Syrian border blast
HATAY - Doğan News Agency
Reyhanlı district of Hatay witnessed a big tragedy on May 11 when two cars exploded in the district’s crowded central area in the afternoon. AA photoThe top suspect of the twin bombings that killed 52 people and injured dozens on May 11 has been detained by security officers in Hatay on the night of June 10, in the Yayladağı district of Hatay’s Güveççi village, only 300 meters from the Syrian border.
Nasır Eskiocak, labeled by the Interior Minister Muammer Güler as the “the main actor of the event, its financier, planner, supporter; the person that paid for the bombs to be delivered,” was captured by a joint operation performed by Hatay Yayladağı district’s border battalion and the Hatay police.
The operation was launched after security forces received information regarding Eskiocak’s planned entrance into Syrian territory, resulting in the capturing of Eskiocak and three others, accused of aiding and abetting him. All four suspects were taken to Hatay Police Department by armored vehicles for questioning following the operation.
18 suspects in total have been detained at different times over charges related to the 300 kilos of explosive material placed in two vans that went off at Reyhanlı on May 11, with six suspects subsequently released and 12 arrested.
The Hatay Governor’s office confirmed Eskiocak’s detainment, describing the operation which led to his capture as “precise and intense.” Eskiocak’s registration within the town records was also confirmed by the governor’s office.
Links to Syrian intelligence
Security forces picked up Eskiocak’s trail through his involvement in smuggling over the border. Reports claimed Eskiocak may have been linked to terrorist leftist organizations, as well as to the group known as “Acilciler,” or the Hasty Ones, who were accused of cooperating with Syrian intelligence for the Reyhanlı attack.
Turkey’s Interior Minister Muammer Güler confirmed the operation. He added that 22 people had been detained over the bombings, with 12 arrests made in the following days. Three more had been caught afterwards, who had been actively involved in the explosion, the minister said.
“With the close watch of our officers, the main actor of the event, its financier, planner, supporter; the person that paid for the bombs to be delivered, for the vehicles too, who ordered the attack and is currently in active collaboration with the Syrian intelligence, Nasır Erkiocak, has been detained while attempting to enter Syria,” Güler said.
Reyhanlı witnessed a great tragedy on May 11 when two cars exploded in the district’s crowded central area in the afternoon. Turkish officials have blamed Syrian forces for the attack, accusing the neighboring country of aiming to disrupt the peace in the border town and cause animosity between the refugees and locals in the area.