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Turkey is becoming new hub for Salafist-jihadi exodus from Syria

Turkey is emerging as the unwilling heir apparent to Salafist-jihadi networks as they are forced out of neighboring countries.
A flag of Islamic State militants is pictured above a destroyed house near the Clock Square in Raqqa, Syria October 18, 2017. Picture taken October 18, 2017.     REUTERS/Erik De Castro - RC159E696010

As the Islamic State (IS) has lost territory in Syria and Iraq, and as efforts are being made to separate radical elements from moderate Sunni opposition groups in and around Idlib, the violent Salafist-jihadi networks are migrating to Turkey.

According to the Turkish General Staff’s official website, 8,474 people who tried to cross the border from Syria to Turkey illegally were caught in December, whereas security forces caught only 71 people trying to go the opposite way. This fact strongly suggests Turkey is becoming either a way station or final destination for violent Salafist-jihadi networks in 2018, even though Turkish security forces were very tough on them in 2017.

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