IS suspect stranded on Turkey-Greece border returned to US

IS suspect stranded on Turkey-Greece border returned to US
A suspected Islamic State militant is being returned to the United States after being stuck on the Turkish-Greek border.
2 min read
15 November, 2019
Turkey is deporting IS members [Getty]
A suspected United States militant, trapped for days between the Turkish and Greek borders, was sent back to the United States on Friday, Turkey's interior minister said. 

"The American on the shared border with Greece has just been expelled from Istanbul by plane to the United States," Suleyman Soylu was quoted as saying by Turkish media. 

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

Read more: US urges Europe to take back Islamic State fighters

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

He was trapped in no-man's land between the borders, next to Turkey's northeastern province of Edirne, though Turkish border guards gave him food and a car to sleep in at night, according to Anadolu.

There was an apparent breakthrough on Thursday, when Turkey said the US "committed to taking him back".

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

Agencies contributed to this report.

Follow us Twitter and Instagram to stay connected