A total of 287 Daesh/ISIS terror suspects have been arrested in northern Syria so far by the Turkish military and the Syrian National Army, Turkey’s deputy interior minister said on Monday.
Ismail Catakli, also Interior Ministry’s spokesman, said the terror suspects, including 45 Turks and 242 foreign nationals, were arrested in 1,107 counter-terror operations.
Catakli added that Turkey has brought back its citizens, while others are kept in secured places in Syria.
Stressing that no other country put such an effort in fight against Daesh as Turkey, Catakli said a total of 2,553 suspects were arrested over their suspected links to Daesh and 784 of them were remanded in custody since the beginning of 2019.
Since recognizing Daesh as a terrorist group in 2013, Turkey has been attacked by Daesh/ISIS terrorists numerous times, including in 10 suicide bombings, seven bombings, and four armed attacks which killed 315 people and injured hundreds.
In response to these attacks, Turkey launched anti-terror operations at home and abroad, neutralizing 3,500 Daesh terrorists and arresting 5,500.
Also, 3,759 suspects were arrested over their suspected links to different terrorist organizations and 575 of them were remanded in custody.
“We have prohibited the entry of 76,818 people who might be foreign terrorist fighters, and deported 7,643 terrorist fighters,” Catakli added.
He added that 175 terrorists were “neutralized” during counter-terrorism operations across the country in November.
Turkish authorities often use the term “neutralized” to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
The neutralized terrorists included 17 senior operatives of the terror group. Three of them were in the red category of the Interior Ministry’s wanted list, another three in the orange and 11 in the gray category.
The wanted list is divided into five color-coded categories, with red as the most wanted, followed by blue, green, orange and gray.
He said a total of 9,885 counter-terror operations were carried out in rural areas and 1,857 in cities.
Stressing that 13,154 anti-drug operations were carried out in November, he said nearly 18,080 people were arrested and 1,196 were remanded in custody in the same month.
The anti-drug operation team seized nearly 12.9 tons of marijuana, over a ton of skunk weed and 981 kilograms (2,162 pounds) of heroin.
Some 2,993 suspects were arrested over their alleged links to drug trafficking and 29 of them were remanded in custody within the scope of 1,976 anti-smuggling operations, he added.
He also said that the ministry initiated a legal procedure against 2,712 people as part of its fight against cybercrimes.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar.
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