By Humeyra Pamuk
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s intelligence agency has seized a man in Syria suspected of coordinating a 2013 bombing that killed 53 people in southern Turkey, a Turkish security official said on Wednesday.
State-run news agency Anadolu said that during his questioning, Yusuf Nazik confessed to having received orders from Syrian intelligence to plan an attack in Turkey and having arranged the transport of explosives into Turkey.
Twin car bombs ripped through the border town of Reyhanli on May 11, 2013. At the time, Turkey had accused a group loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of carrying out the attacks. Damascus denied any involvement.
Nazik was captured in Syria’s government-controlled city of Latakia by members of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MIT) and repatriated to Turkey with the support of the Turkish armed forces, the source said.
The source said no intelligence or logistic aid was received from any foreign state for during the operation. It was not clear when Nazik was seized and repatriated.
There was no reaction to the arrest in Syrian state media.
In February, 22 people were jailed in connection with the bombing, Anadolu said.
Reyhanli is home to thousands of Syrian refugees. Following a series of bombings in the region in 2013, Turkey tightened controls along its 900 km (560-mile) border with Syria.
Turkey has been one of the biggest supporters of the rebels fighting Syrian government forces during the seven-year conflict in Syria. It has taken in some 3.5 million refugees over the course of the conflict.
(Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Daren Butler and Alison Williams)