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Middle East

Turkey detains French woman who married Syria jihadist

© Raqa Media Center, AFP | Women wearing the niqab in Raqqa, the Syrian bastion of the Islamic State (IS) group.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-06-05

Turkish police have detained a young French woman who crossed back into Turkey after joining Islamic State (IS) jihadists in neighbouring Syria, a Turkish security official told AFP on Thursday.

The 22-year-old woman only spent three months in Syria. But it was an eventful stay in the war-torn country that saw her marry a jihadist, split up from him, and endure a one-month stint in a jail run by the IS group.

The woman, named as Sonia Belayati, was detained by Turkish police at a bus terminal in the southeastern Sanliurfa province early on Tuesday after France provided Turkish authorities with intelligence, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The official said Belayati had flown into Istanbul in March and then crossed into Syria and joined the IS extremists.

"She worked for the Daesh terrorist organisation for about three months," he said, using an Arabic acronym for the group. "She later got married to a high-level foreign fighter in Daesh and stayed in Syria."

The woman reportedly split up with the jihadist and was detained in an IS prison in Syria for almost one month. After her release, she illegally crossed the border into Sanliurfa where she was detained by the security forces.

Ankara has started deportation procedures for the woman, with the knowledge of French authorities, the Turkish official added.

Porous borders

Turkey has come under fire for failing to stem the flow of foreign jihadists through its border with Iraq and Syria, which stretches over 1,300 kilometres (800 miles).

It says it is doing all it can to stop would-be militants from Europe joining IS jihadists, who have seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq.

Ankara says it has put over 13,500 foreign citizens – 18 percent of whom are of European or North American origin – from 98 countries on an entry blacklist to stop them travelling to join the IS group.

The government claims it has already deported more than 1,350 people suspected of seeking to join IS and has set up special "risk analysis centres" at transport hubs including bus terminals and airports to question suspect travellers.

Earlier this week, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said more than 860 would-be jihadists had left French territory to fight with the IS group in Syria and Iraq. He said more than half were still in the area, while 110 had died in the fighting.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2015-06-05


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