Belgian Islamic State follower arrested after crossing into Turkey
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A Belgian woman who escaped a prison in Syria where she was being held for her links to the Islamic State (IS) has been intercepted and detained in Turkey.
The woman, identified as 24-year-old Fatima Benmezian, was one of a group of three Belgian women who escaped a detention centre in northeastern Syria alongside hundreds of prisoners in the aftermath of the chaos sparked by the Turkish incursion in the region.
She was detained on 1 November in the Turkish city of Kilis, located over 200 kilometres from the makeshift camp in the town of Ain Issa where she was being held, according to reports by De Morgen.
She is thought to have been smuggled across the Turkish border, confirming previous reporting by a Flemish journalist on the ground who had said the three women planned to contact human smugglers to flee from Syria.
Her arrest in Turkey follows statements by Justice Minister Koen Geens who said that the Turkish borders were closely guarded and that there was “no reason” to worry about prisoners’ moving freely in the region.
A Belgian court sentenced the 24-year-old Antwerp native to five years imprisonment in absentia for her involvement with the terror group, whom she reportedly no longer supports.
Her detention in Kilis comes days after Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said that all foreign IS members would be sent back to their countries of origin since Turkey was “not a hotel” for other countries’ captured jihadists.
The two other women who escaped the detention centre alongside Benmezian are reported to be still in Syria alongside their children.
Source: Brussels Times