Turkey to expel detained Kobane Kurds to Syria: MP

AFP , Thursday 16 Oct 2014

Turkey is planning to expel a group of Syrian Kurds who fled the besieged town of Kobane but were then detained for over a week on suspicion of having links to rebel Kurdish groups, a Turkish lawmaker said on Thursday.

Ibrahim Ayhan, a lawmaker for the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP), said the group of over 150 Kurds still being held did not want to return to Syria amid the advance by Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

The Turkish authorities had last week arrested some 270 Syrian Kurds from Kobane on suspicion of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), holding them in a sports hall in the the border town of Suruc.

Over 100 have already been released and the remaining detainees, who have been on hunger strike to protest their conditions of detention, will now be forced to leave Turkey.

"Turkey has decided to expel these people but they don't want to return to Kobane and they are protesting over their abusive detention," Ayhan said.

He said they neither wanted to return to Kobane nor the other so-called "cantons" of Kurdish northern Syria -- Jezira and Afrin. Contacted by AFP, local officials in Suruc declined to comment.

The Kurds being held in Suruc are believed to be affiliated to the main Kurdish political party of Syria, the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Turkey has poor relations with the PYD, which Ankara accuses of not working to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Ankara also accuses the PYD's armed wing the People's Protection Units (YPG) of links with the PKK.

An estimated 200,000 Syrians from the Kobane region, mainly Kurds, fled into Turkey after IS jihadists advanced on the town.


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