Turkey Sending IS Suspect to US

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- A U.S. national and suspected Islamic State group member, who has spent three days in a no man's land between Turkey and Greece after Ankara tried to deport him, will be repatriated to the United States, Turkey's Interior Ministry said Thursday.

The United States agreed to take him in and would provide him with travel documents, the Ministry said in a statement, adding that the procedures to repatriate him are underway.

The move comes a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington.

The man was stuck in the heavily militarized zone after Turkey tried to expel him to Greece on Monday but Athens refused him entry.

Turkish media have identified him as 39-year-old Mohammad Darwis B. and said he was an American citizen of Jordanian background.

The Ministry said Thursday that the man had asked to be deported to a "third country" and chose Greece.

He had been spotted at the no man's land for three straight days. Media reports said Turkish authorities allowed him to spend the night in a vehicle where he was fed.

Turkey has engaged in a new push to deport foreign IS members who are held in Turkish prisons or in Syria, since it invaded parts of northeast Syria to drive away Syrian Kurdish fighters it considers to be terrorists from a border area.

Three foreign IS suspects -- from the United States, Denmark and Germany -- were deported on Monday, while an official said seven Germans would be expelled on Thursday. Turkey also plans to soon deport other alleged IS members, including two Irish and 11 French nationals.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry also said Thursday that a wanted IS suspect was detained by anti-terrorism police in a raid in Istanbul after he illegally crossed into Turkey from Syria.

The ministry said the man, it identified as Mevlut Cuskun, was being questioned by police.

(KR)