BFF-45 Turkey captures 2013 border bombing suspect in Syria operation

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Turkey captures 2013 border bombing suspect in Syria operation

ANKARA, Sept 12, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – The Turkish secret service has captured
in Syria and brought back to Turkey the chief suspect in a 2013 bombing on
the border with its conflict-torn neighbour that left over 50 dead, state
media said Wednesday.

Turkish citizen Yusuf Nazik, who is accused of planning the May 2013
Reyhanli bombing, was apprehended in an operation by the National
Intelligence Organisation (MIT) in the Syrian city of Latakia and brought to
Turkey, the Anadolu news agency said.

Turkey at the time blamed the bombing — one of the deadliest in its modern
history — on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and allied groups. But
the Syrian government rejected the charges.

Anadolu also published a video of Nazik, dressed in a tracksuit top and
jeans and standing by a Turkish flag, giving what it described as a
“confession”, saying he was behind the attack and it had been ordered by the
Syrian regime.

He said a man “working for Syrian intelligence” had given the order for the
bombing and called on others in Syria to “return before it is too late”,
saying Turkey will “look after us”.

Nazik said he was from the Turkish southern city of Antakya and was 34
years old.

Turkey has been an implacable foe of Assad throughout the Syrian conflict
and has repeatedly called for his ouster.

Yet Ankara has also been working in recent months more intensely with its
main allies Russia and Iran on ending the conflict. Attention is now focused
on Turkey’s reaction should the regime go ahead with a planned assault on the
last rebel stronghold of Idlib.

The operation to capture Nazik which took place in Latakia is significant
as the city has been a regime stronghold throughout the civil war and is seen
as the heartland of support for Assad.

There were no further details on the nature of the operation and if it had
been carried out with or without the knowledge of the Syrian authorities or
Russian forces who are present in the area. No date was given for Nazik’s
capture.

The operation is the latest in a series of high-profile swoops by the MIT.

It has brought back to Turkey in recent weeks suspects accused of links to
preacher Fethullah Gulen, the accused mastermind of the 2016 failed coup
seeking to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, from several countries
including Kosovo, Gabon, Moldova and Ukraine.

BSS/AFP/MR/ 1519 hrs