Ankara, Turkey — An American man suspected of having fought for ISIS is being repatriated to the United States after spending three days in a no man's land between Turkey and Greece, Turkey's Interior Ministry said Thursday. The United States agreed to take him in and would provide him with travel documents, the ministry said, adding that the repatriation was underway.
The move comes a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Donald Trump in Washington. An official at the State Department in Washington declined comment on the case when asked by CBS News on Wednesday.
The man was stuck in the heavily militarized border zone after Turkey tried to expel him to Greece on Monday but Athens refused him entry. Turkish media have identified him as 39-year-old Mohammad Darwis B. and said he is an American citizen of Jordanian background.
The Ministry said Thursday the man had asked on Monday to be deported to a "third country" and chose Greece.
He had been spotted in the no man's land for three straight days. Media reports said Turkish authorities allowed him to spend the night in a vehicle, where he was fed.
Turkey has engaged in a new push to deport foreign ISIS members who are held in Turkish prisons or in Syria, since it invaded parts of northeast Syria to drive away Syrian Kurdish fighters it considers to be terrorists from a border area.
Three foreign ISIS suspects — from the United States, Denmark and Germany — were deported on Monday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated the Trump administration's call for countries to take back their nationals detained in Turkey and see that they face justice. America's Kurdish allies in Syria, who still hold hundreds of suspected ISIS fighters and their families in jails across the north of the country, have also called for prompt repatriations.
Austria, Germany, France and Belgium have repatriated a handful of orphans, and the U.S. has repatriated several women and their children.
The Interior Ministry said Thursday that procedures to expel seven German citizens and one British citizen to their home countries were continuing, without saying when they would deported. Earlier, a ministry spokesman had said seven Germans would be sent home on Thursday.
Turkey also plans to soon deport other alleged ISIS members, including two Irish and 11 French citizens.
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