By Sertac Bulur, Orhan Onur Gemici
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish authorities remanded 13 suspected members of Daesh, including the terror group’s so-called “Emir of Health”, in Turkey’s southeastern province of Sanliurfa, security sources said Tuesday.
According to information received from security sources, the counterterrorism unit of the Sanliurfa Police Department launched an operation to capture Daesh suspects, including some senior members, after receiving intelligence that they had crossed into Turkey from Syria via smugglers under the control of the PKK/KCK and the PYD/YPG terrorist organizations.
In the operation, 12 people who crossed the border into Turkey and two Syrian nationals who helped them were arrested.
All of them were foreign nationals, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Two of the suspects were facing Interpol Red Notices and another a diffusion notice, the sources said.
A diffusion notice is less formal than a Red Notice but is also used to request the arrest or location of an individual or additional information in relation to a police investigation.
The suspects consisted of seven Algerians, two Syrians, two Iraqis, one Dutch national, one Moroccan, one British national and one Egyptian.
One of the Iraqi nationals, Kefah Basheer Hussain, was the terror group’s so-called “Emir of Health”.
In his statement to the public prosecutor, Hussain said he was among the founders of the Tawhid and Jihad group in Iraq in 2004 and continued his activities in the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization in Iraq. He was also among the founders of the Daesh terrorist organization, chief of health affairs for the terror group and was commanding another 6-7 senior Daesh members.
He also confessed that there was cooperation between PYD/YPG and the Daesh terror group, adding that YPG sought a ceasefire agreement with Daesh four months ago.
He also said that YPG granted safe passage to Daesh’s injured “armed forces” with their weapons and families from YPG-held territories to Syria’s eastern city of Deir ez-Zor.
Meanwhile, Interpol had issued a Red Notice for Dutch national Xaviera Rose-Claire Swagemakers and an Algerian-born resident of the Netherlands, Mokhtar Mekkaoi, who were among the arrested suspects. Moreover, Moroccan-born British national Younis Benelbadia also faced a diffusion notice from Interpol.
Thirteen of the suspects were arrested pending trial while the Egyptian national was released on conditional judicial control.