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Turkey sends American Islamic State fighter to U.S. after stalemate with Greece

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ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey sent a U.S. citizen and suspected Islamic State member to the United States by plane on Friday, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said, after the man was refused entry to Greece earlier this week.

Turkish authorities started deporting captured Islamic State suspects to their home countries on Monday. Ankara says it has captured 287 militants in northeast Syria, where Turkish troops launched an assault against the Kurdish YPG militia last month, and has hundreds more jihadist suspects in detention.

One of the suspects, a U.S. citizen of Arab descent, had requested deportation to Greece, but was refused entry by Greek police on Monday. The suspect had been stuck in a buffer zone between Turkey and Greece since, but the Interior Ministry said on Thursday that the United States had agreed to take him back.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Soylu said the suspect had been deported and sent to the United States on Friday by plane from Istanbul. Soylu said two German fighters were also deported on the same day.

Turkey has so far repatriated 10 German nationals, one U.S. citizen and one British fighter. Ankara has said that suspected fighters will be deported to Ireland, France and other nations, mostly European states, in the coming days.

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Ece Toksabay and Dominic Evans)

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