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Turkey arrests 19 foreigners heading to Syria

March 21, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Security forces in southern Turkey have arrested 19 foreigners as they tried to enter Syria illegally, Anadolu news agency reported on Friday. According to an official statement issued in Gaziantep, those arrested included a pregnant woman, one of 13 Indonesians, a French citizen, two Russians, two Libyans and someone from Kyrgyzstan.

The foreigners were arrested at checkpoints established by the Turkish government along the border with Syria in an effort to stop people crossing over to join ISIS. Anadolu says that Western governments and media have blamed Ankara for not doing enough to prevent the flow of foreigners into Syria.

However, Turkey’s foreign minister revealed last week that more than 12,500 people have been blocked from entering Turkey and that the government has deported more than 1,150 people since January. “This means that Turkey is doing its bit [to stop the flow into Syria] and will continue to do so,” insisted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.