Turkish nationals make up half of the hundreds of families being held in a camp near Mosul for suspected links to the Islamic State of Iraq and Leavant (ISIL), Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press.
At the camp near Mosul, Iraqi forces are holding 1,333 women and children who surrendered to Kurdish forces. The families handed themselves over after an Iraqi offensive drove the extremist group from the northern town of Tal Afar, near Mosul at the end of August.
Many of those detained at the camp are not guilty of any crime, al-Abadi said and his government is “in full communication” with their home countries to “find a way to hand them over.” So far, al-Abadi said, Iraq has repatriated fewer than 100 people.
“But we are working very hard to accelerate this. It is not in our interest to keep families and children inside our country when their countries are prepared to take them,” he added.
The US Department of the Treasury had said ISIL financial emir for the Iraqi city of Mosul Salim Mustafa Muhammad al-Mansur has been living in Turkey since earlier this year, the Hürriyet daily reported on Sunday. According to a report by the US Treasury on Aug. 29, al-Mansur, who was named a “specially designated global terrorist” and barred from both the US and Iraqi financial systems, has been living in Mersin, Adana province, and İstanbul since early 2017.
ISIL has carried out multiple terrorist attacks in Turkey over the past several years, which claimed the lives of hundreds of people.
The Turkish government is being widely criticized for turning a blind eye to the ISIL’s activities and failing to crack down on its militants and sleeper cells across the country. As the books and publishing houses which have been propagating ISIL and al-Qaeda’s radical Islamist ideology and call for violence and terror freely in Turkey, the same country is the leading jailer of journalists in the world