Turkey holds French woman who ‘married ISIS fighter in Syria’
The woman, named as Sonia Belayati, 22, was detained at a bus terminal in the southeastern Sanliurfa province
Turkish police detained a young French woman who crossed back into Turkey after joining Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in neighboring Syria, a security official said on Thursday.
During a three-month stay in Syria, the woman married and then split up from a militant and was put in a jail operated by the ISIS group before being released, the official said.
The woman, named as Sonia Belayati, 22, was detained at a bus terminal in the southeastern Sanliurfa province early Tuesday after France provided Turkish authorities with intelligence, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The woman had flown into Istanbul in March and then crossed into Syria and joined the ISIS extremists.
“She worked for the Daesh terrorist organization for about three months,” the official 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 official said.
The woman later split up with the fighter and was detained in an ISIS 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.
Turkey has started deportation procedures for the woman, with the knowledge of French authorities, the Turkish official added.
Turkey has come under fire from the West over the flow of foreign fighters through its volatile border.
But Ankara says it is doing all it can to stop would-be militants from Europe joining ISIS fighters, who have seized swathes of Syria and Iraq.
The government 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 ISIS group.
Turkey, which shares a combined 1,300 kilometer (800 mile) border with Iraq and Syria, has angrily rejected suggestions it has not done enough to halt the passage of militants.
It said it has already deported more than 1,350 people suspected of seeking to join ISIS and has set up special “risk analysis centers” at transport hubs including bus terminals and airports to question suspect travelers.
Turkey, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is a vocal critic of President Bashar al-Assad and says his exit is key to solving the four-year Syrian conflict.