Turkey detains 12 Daesh suspects, seeks 8 others

Turkish police detain 12 Daesh suspects. (AFP)
Updated 05 March 2018

Turkey detains 12 Daesh suspects, seeks 8 others

ISTANBUL: Turkish police arrested 12 people in Ankara in an investigation targeting Daesh suspects, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Monday, hours after the US embassy there said it would remain closed for the day due to a security threat.
The 12 suspects were among 20 people for whom detention warrants were issued by the Ankara state prosecutors' office, Anadolu said. It said they were foreign citizens and had been seeking to recruit new members to the group.
Turkish authorities regularly detain Daesh suspects and it was not clear whether there was any connection between the arrests and the US embassy move. Anadolu said the police operation was "planned previously".
On Sunday evening, the US embassy in Ankara said it would be closed to the public on Monday due to a security threat and only emergency services will be provided.
It advised US citizens in Turkey to avoid large crowds and the embassy building and to be aware of their own security when visiting popular tourist sites and crowded places. It did not specify what the security threat was that prompted the closure.
The Ankara governor's office said additional security measures were taken after intelligence from US sources suggested there might be an attack targeting the US embassy or places US citizens were staying.
Turkish police increased operations against Daesh at the end of 2017 before the first anniversary of a New Year gun attack on an Istanbul nightclub in which 39 people were killed.
Daesh claimed responsibility for that shooting, one of a series of attacks believed to have been carried out by the extremists in Turkey in recent years.


Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

In this file photo taken on December 04, 2018, Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of US journalist Austin Tice (portrait L), who was abducted in Syria more than six years ago, speak at a press conference in Beirut. (AFP)
Updated 15 August 2020

Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

  • In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump personally wrote to his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad about the case of journalist Austin Tice, who has been missing since 2012, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.
“The US government has repeatedly attempted to engage Syrian officials to seek Austin’s release,” Pompeo said in a statement on the eighth anniversary of Tice’s disappearance.
“President Trump wrote to Bashar Assad in March to propose direct dialogue.”
Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.
Thirty-one years old at the time he was captured, Tice appeared blindfolded in the custody of an unidentified group of armed men in a video a month later.
Since then, there has been no official information on whether he is alive or dead.
In March, Trump said the United States had written a letter to authorities in Damascus, without specifying that he himself had written personally to Assad, who Washington wants out of power. At that time, Trump said he did not know if Tice was still alive.

HIGHLIGHT

Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.

“No one should doubt the president’s commitment to bringing home all US citizens held hostage or wrongfully detained overseas,” Pompeo said Friday.
“Nowhere is that determination stronger than in Austin Tice’s case.”
Pompeo said he and Trump hoped there would be “no need for another statement like this a year from now.”
“Austin Tice’s release and return home are long, long overdue. We will do our utmost to achieve that goal,” he added.
A year ago, the US government said it believed Tice was still alive.
His mother Debra Tice said in January that she had “credible information” to that effect, without elaborating.
In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery.