Turkish police detain ‘ISIS sympathizers’ after student protest

Police stormed a university campus after students armed with sticks and stones attacked an anti-ISIS protest

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Turkish police on Wednesday detained three students at Istanbul University suspected of being sympathizers of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group following clashes at an anti-jihadist campus protest, reports said.

Police stormed the university’s faculty of humanities and science in Istanbul’s Beyazit district after Islamist students armed with sticks and stones attacked another group protesting against ISIS.

Three students were detained after being identified by police as ISIS supporters because they were wearing black masks and hats during the fight earlier Wednesday, Hurriyet newspaper reported on its website.

“We are Muslim students. Long live Muslim students. We Muslims are one body,” they reportedly chanted during the protest.

Dozens of riot police officers as well as armored vehicles and water cannon trucks were deployed around the university after the early morning raid.

Istanbul University has in the last few days been the scene of clashes between leftist students denouncing the brutality of the ISIS militants and the group’s sympathizers.

On Friday, an anti-ISIS protest turned violent when masked assailants attacked a group of students with sticks studded with nails. One student was injured in the head when a glass bottle was thrown at him.

The assailants also tore down a banner that read “ISIL (ISIS), get out of the Middle East,” using an alternative name for the group.

ISIS militants, who has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria and declared a Muslim “caliphate,” have advanced dangerously close to the Turkish border in the last days.

Several protests have been held across Turkey against ISIS, with police on occasion firing tear gas to disperse protesters.

Turkey has in the past been accused by its Western critics of encouraging the rise of ISIS and even hosting a headquarters of the group in Istanbul, accusations that officials vehemently deny.

The West has also called on Turkey to do more to halt the flow of foreign militants, hundreds of whom have used the country as a jump-off point for travelling to Syria.

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