A suspected US extremist, trapped for days between the Turkish and Greek borders, was sent back to the United States 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 ISIS, according to state news agency Anadolu.
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 criticized Western countries for not taking back captured members of ISIS, and has lately publicized its efforts to deport extremists 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 ISIS.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said last week that Turkey had nearly 1,200 foreign members of ISIS 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.