Men suspected of being Daesh fighter wait to be searched by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. File photo/AFP
Turkey is preparing to deport 11 French citizens captured in Syria, along with several other Europeans accused of joining the Daesh group, the interior ministry said on Monday.
It has deported an American foreign fighter and will soon deport another seven Germans, a spokesman for the interior ministry was quoted as saying on Monday after state media said Ankara began repatriation of captured Daesh militants.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu had warned last week that Ankara would begin to send back Daesh militants to their home countries on Monday even if their citizenships have been revoked.
"One American foreign terrorist fighter whose proceedings are completed has been deported," ministry spokesman Ismail Catakli was quoted as saying by state-run Anadolu news agency.
"Travel plans for seven foreign terrorist fighters of German origin at deportation centres have been completed, they will be deported on Nov. 14," he added.
Broadcaster NTV quoted Catakli as saying that "three more Daesh militants at deportation centres will be sent back today."
Turkey aims to repatriate around 2,500 militants, the majority of whom will be sent to European Union nations, state broadcaster TRT Haber said, adding there were currently 813 militants at 12 deportation centres in the country.
Turkey launched an offensive into northeastern Syria against the Kurdish YPG militia last month following a decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw US troops from the region.
The YPG, the main element of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and a US ally against Daesh, has kept thousands of jihadists in jails across northeast Syria.
The Turkish offensive prompted widespread concern over the fate of the prisoners, with Turkey's Western allies and the SDF warning it could hinder the fight against Daesh and aid its resurgence.
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Turkey hopes the buffer zone, which it says should be at least 30 kilometres (19 miles) deep, will keep Syrian Kurdish fighters, considered a threat by Turkey but US allies in the fight against the Daesh group, away from its border.
Damascus said on Thursday it rejects a US-Turkish plan to establish a buffer zone in northern Syria, blaming Syria’s Kurds for the proposal, state media said.
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