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Turkey detains Russian ISIL suspect at Syria border

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Turkish border guards have detained five Russians, including a woman suspected of membership in the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and a Libyan, who were attempting to cross into Turkey from Syria, Agence France-Presse reported on Wednesday, citing local officials.

It was not immediately clear whether all six were suspected of being members of the jihadist group.

“Our border guards stationed in Hatay’s Narlica district [in southern Turkey] caught six people including one Libyan and five Russian nationals who were attempting to illegally cross into Turkey from Syria,” the Interior Ministry tweeted in English.

“One of the Russian nationals was a woman identified as a wanted Daesh member,” it said, using an Arabic acronym for the extremist group.

In a separate incident, Turkish authorities this week also arrested a 26-year-old woman with her two children near the Syrian border, accused of links to the ISIL group.

The woman, who held both New Zealand and Australian passports until Canberra revoked her Australian citizenship last year, sparked a row between the two countries.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday accused Australia of shirking its responsibilities and said it was “wrong” to expect New Zealand to accept the woman.

Turkey has stepped up the fight against ISIL jihadists who carried out deadly attacks on its soil, including a mass shooting at an upscale İstanbul nightclub just minutes into the new year in 2017.

The attack killed 39 people, including 27 foreigners.

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