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Erdogan: ISIS Members Evacuated from Raqqa Went to Egypt

Erdogan: ISIS Members Evacuated from Raqqa Went to Egypt

Wednesday, 6 December, 2017 - 11:30
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Parliament in Ankara, Turkey, November 7, 2017. Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that terrorists who fled Raqqa, Syria, went to Egypt to fight in the Sinai Peninsula.

“ISIS elements who fled Raqqa, which was freed from the terrorist organization in a joint operation by the US-led coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces SDF in October, were sent to Egypt to carry out operations in the Sinai desert,” Erdogan said Tuesday.

He accused the United States, during a meeting of the AKP parliamentary bloc in Ankara, of trying to use the weapons it has sent to the region against Iran, Turkey, or Russia.

The Turkish President, who said his country had achieved great success in fighting ISIS while other countries were forming alliances with "terrorist organizations" (in reference to the coordination between Washington and the Kurdish People's Protection Units YPG in Syria), did not disclose more details about the number of terrorists who moved to Sinai or how they infiltrated Egypt.

In this context, press reports revealed Ankara's warning to Europe that hundreds of terrorist "elements" who fled Raqqa, will resume their terrorist activities there.

According to a report published on Tuesday by The Times, hundreds of ISIS terrorists are headed towards Europe after secretly escaping Syria thanks to a deal struck between the terror group and the SDF, which is mostly made up of the YPG.

The controversial deal allowed hundreds of ISIS militants to escape Raqqa during civilians' evacuation, paving the way for the terrorists to enter mainland Europe via smuggling routes - a danger Turkey has warned Europe of on many occasions, the report explained.

The Times report also included an interview with one of those arrested, Saddam al-Hamadi, 26, who said that hundreds of ISIS militants had taken advantage of the exodus of people during the deal to get to Turkey.

"It was an easy route to cross. Even if the YPG catch you, you will be held for 10 or 15 days and then released," he said.

The Times also quoted an unnamed Turkish official, who said there had been a significant increase in the number of terrorists caught trying to cross the border into Turkey.

The report also said that ISIS terrorists paid human traffickers as little as $300 to use the same routes as civilians to reach Turkey before fleeing to Europe.

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