Europe

Foreign IS fighter stuck in no-man's land to be returned to the US

A man who is identified by news reports as a US citizen is now stuck in the heavily militarized no-man's land between Greece and Turkey. Source: DHA

The US reportedly originally refused to accept the suspected IS fighter, leaving him stuck between Turkey and Greece.

A suspected American IS fighter, trapped for days between the Turkish and Greek borders, will be sent back to the United States following talks with Washington, Turkey's interior ministry said on Thursday. 

The man, identified as Muhammad Darwis B, a US citizen of Jordanian descent, was captured in Syria on suspicion of ties to the IS group, according to state news agency Anadolu. 

Turkish authorities say the US initially refused to accept him, and that he chose deportation to Greece, only for Greek authorities to refuse him entry on Monday. 

He has since been trapped in no-man's land between the borders, next to Turkey's northeastern province of Edirne.

Women queue for aid supplies at al-Hol camp, home to Islamic State-affiliated families.
Women queue for aid supplies at al-Hol camp, home to IS-affiliated families.
AP

Turkish border guards provided him with food and a car to sleep in at night, Anadolu said.

There was an apparent breakthrough on Thursday, with the interior ministry saying: "The necessary proceedings are being undertaken to send back the foreign terrorist fighter to America after the US committed to taking him back to the country," according to Anadolu.

Turkey has criticised Western countries for not taking back captured members of IS, and has lately publicised its efforts to deport foreign fighters back to their countries of origin.

It follows criticism of Turkey's offensive last month against Kurdish militants in northern Syria, which Western governments complained would undermine the fight against IS.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said last week that Turkey had nearly 1,200 foreign members of IS in custody, and had captured 287 during the offensive in Syria.

The Hurriyet newspaper said Wednesday that 959 suspects were being prepared for deportation, with the largest numbers coming from Iraq, Syria and Russia.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch