Turkey willing to help Canada repatriate ISIS members in Syria - Global News

Turkey is open to allowing captured Canadian Islamic State (ISIS) members to transit through the country so they may face prosecution in Canada, Global News reported on Tuesday citing a Turkish official.

Ankara was willing to co-operate with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to repatriate the dozens of Canadians caught by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces during the collapse of ISIS in the country, the official speaking on the condition of anonymity said.

The RCMP or Canadian Armed Forces would bring the Canadians to the border of Turkey, and the country would allow them through, the official explained.

There are roughly 30 Canadians held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who have led the battle against ISIS in Syria.

The  Kurdish militia Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) forms the backbone of the SDF and Turkey sees both groups as terror organisations, while the U.S. and its global partners consider them reliable partners against ISIS.  

“We wouldn’t deal directly with the YPG. I don’t see that possibility,” the Turkish official told Global News. “We don’t deal with terrorists.”

Canada’s Liberal government has said it would be difficult to get the Canadians out of Syria because they could be arrested and charged by authorities in neighbouring Turkey and Iraq.

The RCMP wants to ensure Turkish authorities would not question the detainees or search their electronic devices, it stressed, which could affect the ISIS members’ prosecution in Canada.

Turkey is a better option than Iraq in the repatriation of the ISIS members Global News said, with ISIS members possibly face death sentences in the latter country.