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Turkey detains 13 foreigners seeking to join IS

ISTANBUL: Security forces in Turkey detained 13 foreigners and a Turkish citizen attempting to cross into Syria to join the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, the armed forces said on Wednesday.

The army said that the group was detained on January 9 as they sought to cross the border into Syria from a village in the southeastern province of Gaziantep.

The foreigners were handed over to the police to be deported after questioning while the Turkish citizen was released, the army said in a statement on its website.

The nationalities of the foreigners were not disclosed. It appears to be the largest group of suspected militants that Turkey has said it has detained for attempting to join IS.

Turkey has been under fire from its Western partners for not doing enough to stem the flow of jihadists seeking to join Islamic State, which has captured large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.

But in the last weeks the Turkish authorities appear to have stepped up efforts to convince critics that Turkey is doing all it can to ensure border security.

Ankara has in turn said it is up to EU states to prevent the militants from travelling to Turkey in the first place and to better share intelligence on them.

The army said Sunday that a would-be jihadist surrendered to the Turkish army on the border with Syria, just a few days after it said it had detained four suspected IS members in the southeast of the country.

According to Turkish officials, there are about 3,000 people with links to IS militants in Turkey.-AFP

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