Foreign Ministry Retrieves Young Jewish Israeli Who Planned to Enter Syria From Turkey

Family had feared that the 21-year-old would try to join ISIS and enlisted help of Foreign Ministry and Interpol; Foreign Min. source: Matter not being treated as security incident, rather personal issue.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Turkish army tanks hold positions next to an outpost, near the border with Syria, in the outskirts of the village of Elbeyi, east of the town of Kilis, in southeastern Turkey, July 23, 2015.
Turkish army tanks hold positions next to an outpost, near the border with Syria, in the outskirts of the village of Elbeyi, east of the town of Kilis, in southeastern Turkey, July 23, 2015.Credit: AP
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said Tuesday that it had facilitated the return of a young Jewish Israeli citizen who had planned to cross the border from Turkey into Syria. A source in the Foreign Ministry said that affair was not being treated as a security incident, but rather as a personal issue involving the young man.

Deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Alon Lavi said that the ministry had received a request last Thursday from an Israeli family, seeking help in bringing back to Israel a relative they said had flown to Crete en route to Syria. They were apparently concerned that he was planning to join the Islamic State (also known as ISIS).

The young man is 21-year-old, but is still under legal guardianship of his family. The Foreign Ministry would not provide additional details about the young man, for reasons of privacy and the sensitive nature of the case.

The family told the Foreign Ministry that the young man had flown from Crete to Izmir, Turkey, and from there to the city of Adana. Afterward, he continued with ground transportation to the city of Iskendrun, near the border with Syria.

The family was in contact with the young man via the Internet over the course of the past days and became increasingly concerned that he would enter Syria in an attempt to join ISIS.

Lavi said the Foreign Ministry notified Interpol representatives in Israel, and activated the Israeli embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul, in order to try to find him and bring him back to Israel before he could cross into Syria.

The Turkish authorities agreed to help, and the Iskendrun police were able to find the young man and hand him over to his family, who had flown to Turkey to retrieve him. The man and his family returned to Israel on Monday.

The Foreign Ministry's Director for Israelis Abroad, Ilana Ravid, called the case complex and worrisome, but added, "thanks to the diplomatic activity of the Israeli representatives in Turkey and the good will of the Turkish authorities, the story had a happy ending."

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