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Turkey says releases last Syrian Kurdish detainees

AFP , Monday 20 Oct 2014
Kobane
Smoke and flames rise over Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, October 20, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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Turkey on Monday released the last group of Syrian Kurds who were being held on suspicion of having links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a local official said.

"The last 95 people were advised to go to a tent city having reported their contact details," local official Fatih Ciftci told AFP.

Turkey had detained almost 300 Kurds who crossed the border from the besieged Syrian town of Kobane on suspicion of having links with the PKK, Kurdish lawmakers said.

Turkey is hugely concerned that the standoff around Kobane could lead to the creation of a Kurdish fighting force overlapping the Turkish and Syrian borders.

The Syria-based Kurdish fighters of the People's Defence Units (YPG) battling IS fighters are affiliated to the PKK militants who have fought the Turkish authorities for the last three decades in an insurgency that has claimed 40,000 lives.

"They were not placed under formal custody but kept under administrative surveillance as part of a routine security check," said Ciftci.

"We presented them with two choices: either to go back, or be settled into a (refugee) camp," the official said, adding that the ones who preferred to stay in Turkey would be tracked by Turkish authorities.

Almost 300 Syrian Kurds had been held by Turkey for the checks, with many held in a sports hall in the border town of Suruc under conditions that have appalled Kurdish activists.

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