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Turkey to Deport American ISIS Suspect Stuck at Greek Border

Turkey to Deport American ISIS Suspect Stuck at Greek Border

Thursday, 14 November, 2019 - 11:15
Riot police officers stand during clashes outside a camp in the town of Diavata in northern Greece, April 6, 2019.REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis

Turkey said on Thursday it would deport an American ISIS militant to the United States after he was refused entry to Greece, leaving him stuck in a no man’s land for days.


Turkish authorities said on Monday they had begun to repatriate ISIS detainees to their home countries, deporting a German and an American, and a further 23 European nationals would be sent home in the coming days.


Greek police said on Monday Turkish police had come to the Kastanies border post and requested that a US citizen of Arab descent accompanying them be let into Greece, as he had been arrested for exceeding his maximum permitted stay in Turkey.


The man was refused entry and returned to Turkey, Greek police said. However, Turkish state media said the man had remained in a heavily militarized buffer zone between Turkey and Greece.


Thursday's move comes a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with US President Donald Trump in Washington.


Turkey's Interior Ministry said the US had agreed to take back the fighter, who had requested deportation to Greece prior to being denied entry.


"Upon guarantees that he will be taken back by the United States and that travel documents will be procured, the necessary proceedings have been started to send him to the United States," the ministry said in a statement.


Turkey, which has suffered multiple deadly attacks by ISIS militants, says it has captured 287 fighters in northeast Syria since launching a cross-border incursion on Oct. 9 targeting the Kurdish YPG.


Ankara says it has hundreds more militants in detention, and has accused European countries of being loath to take back citizens who travelled to join militant factions fighting in Middle East wars, mainly in Syria and Iraq.


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