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Turkey to send back Islamic State prisoners even if citizenships revoked

Interior minister says Ankara has nearly 1,200 foreign IS members in custody and caught 287 during its Syria operation
'Those that are in our hands, we will send them back to their countries,' said Soylu, centre (AFP)

Turkey has said it will send Islamic State group (IS) prisoners back to their countries of origin, regardless of whether they have been stripped of citizenship. 

Interior Minister Soleyman Soylu said on Monday that Turkey had nearly 1,200 foreign members of IS in custody, and had captured 287 during its recent operation in northern Syria.

"Of course, those that are in our hands, we will send them back to their countries," he said, according to state news agency Anadolu.

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"However, the world has devised a new method. They say 'Let's strip them of their citizenship... Let them be tried where they are'.

"It is impossible for us to accept this view... We will send Daesh (IS) members to their countries whether they strip them of their citizenship or not."

It remains unclear whether Turkey will be able to do so in practice.

Western countries have often refused to accept the repatriation of citizens who left to join IS in Syria, and have stripped many of their citizenship.

Britain has removed citizenship from more than 100 people for allegedly joining armed groups abroad. 

High-profile cases such as teenage IS recruit Shamima Begum, and another alleged recruit Jack Letts, have sparked court proceedings and fierce political debate in the UK. 

The United States said last month that it had killed IS's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in northwestern Syria, where Turkey and Russia have troops. 

While Baghdadi's death was hailed by world leaders, including Turkey, the group has vowed revenge against the US.