ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey sent a U.S. citizen suspected of fighting for Islamic State to the United States by plane on Friday, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said, after the man was refused entry to Greece earlier this week.
Turkish authorities started deporting captured Islamic State suspects to their home countries on Monday. Ankara says it has captured 287 militants in northeast Syria, where Turkish troops launched an assault against the Kurdish YPG militia last month, and has hundreds more jihadist suspects in detention.
One of the suspects, a U.S. citizen of Arab descent, had requested deportation to Greece, but was refused entry by Greek police on Monday. The suspect had been stuck in a buffer zone between Turkey and Greece, but the Interior Ministry said on Thursday that the United States had agreed to take him back.
Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Soylu said the suspect had been deported and sent to the United States on Friday by plane from Istanbul. The U.S. State Department said it was aware of the case but would not comment further because of privacy concerns.
Soylu said two German fighters were also deported on the same day.
So far this week Turkey has also repatriated eight other Germans and one British suspected fighter. Ankara has said that suspects will be deported to Ireland, France and other nations, mostly European states, in the coming days.
(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Washington, Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Ece Toksabay, Dominic Evans and Peter Graff)