FOUR Trinbago nationals believed to be fighting for the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are among 961 persons held at the Turkish border last December by Turkish authorities. The four remain under heavy guard at an isolation camp at the Turkish border while authorities are to decide their fate. Yesterday, former Minister of National Security Gary Griffith said that as far as he is aware those four TT nationals should not be allowed to return home.
“Based on the requirements under international airlines namely the US and the United Kingdom have declared that if persons are declared to be foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) they will not be allowed entry to board an aircraft for obvious reasons, and that being the case there is no direct flight from Turkey to Trinidad which will mean that they cannot return to Trinidad and Tobago. “They will just have to remain where they are and my recommendation is that if someone is labeled as an FTF they should not be allowed to return to our shores and this is in contrast to the views of some who are saying that they should be given a second chance because they are citizens and they have nowhere else to go,” Griffith said.
Also yesterday, former head of the national operations centre Garvin Heerah said, “this country will first have to verify the information under the exchange of information sharing with our international counterparts as related to the parameters of the UN security council resolution as signed by this country. As far as I understand in accordance with Turkish sovereignty and international directives if confirmed these persons can face prosecution by the Turkish authorities in an international court.” There are about 80 or more TT nationals believed to be in Syria fighting for ISIS based on information received from intelligence agencies.
Sources revealed that the four are from Central and South Trinidad who fled this country during 2012 and 2014. It is believed they travelled through Venezuela and then other countries before reaching Turkey, then Syria.
Newsday understands that the four are among a list of 80 persons identified by local intelligence agencies as having travelled to Syria to fight for ISIS. Records with information suggesting are contained in a data base at the officers of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA). The four held are among 961 foreign members of ISIS captured by Turkish security forces, according to an article published in Turkish newspaper, Hürriyet.