Members of jihadist group linked to al-Qaeda released pending trial by Turkish court

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A Turkish court has released pending trial 13 alleged members of Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS), an al-Qaeda-linked group in Turkey, after four days of detention, TR724 reported on Friday.

The release of the jihadists took social media by surprise since Turkey has put a large numbers of suspects in pre-trial detention on charges of terrorism, particularly in the wake of a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

On Sunday, upon detention warrants issued by a chief public prosecutor in the southern province of Adana, Turkish police had simultaneously raided 18 locations across the country, detaining 13 suspects who were allegedly involved in recruiting militants for the group as well as providing them financial and logistical assistance such as food, clothing and ammunition.

The group reportedly operated under the direction of Hasan Süslü, the head of the Fukara-Der charity organization, who was also among the detainees.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that HTS had gained ground against Turkish-backed rebels in northwest Syria, edging closer to the frontline with government forces and raising questions about the fate of a demilitarization deal concluded between Turkey and Russia back in September that aimed to stave off a Syrian army offensive in the Idlib region.

Idlib lies in Syria’s northwest corner, the last opposition stronghold, where Turkish forces are stationed. It borders territory that Turkey-backed rebels control near the Turkish frontier.

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