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Turkey arrests Chechen man 'carrying explosives' on Syrian border

Turkey has increased security across the border it shares with Syria [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 April, 2017

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Eighteen people, including a Chechen man carrying explosives attempting to illegally cross the border to Turkey from Syria were detained by Turkish security forces, the military said on Tuesday.
A Chechen man was arrested with a group of 17 others, including four women and four children, while attempting to cross into Turkey from Syria, the army said.

The man was suspected of planning an attack after security officers found 1.5 kg (3.3 pound) of explosives and two grenades in his bag, a military statement said.

He was detained with a group of nine men, four women and four children.

Chechnya, a region in Russia's overwhelmingly Muslim northern Caucasus long troubled by Islamist unrest, has over the last years emerged as a major source of extremists.

The detention of the Chechen came a day after a suicide bomber from the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan killed 14 people in an attack on the metro in Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg.

Turkey has also been rocked by a string of attacks over the last year blamed on Islamic State and Kurdish militants. It has increased security across the 900 kilometre (559 miles) border it shares with Syria.

Last month, Ankara declared the end of Operation Euphrates Shield military campaign, which it launched last year in northern Syria.

The campaign targeted Islamic State [IS] militants and Syrian Kurdish militias, who Ankara considers as "terrorists".

Turkey-backed Syrian rebels captured several towns from IS militants, including Jarabulus, al-Rai, Dabiq and finally al-Bab, where the Turkish army sustained heavy casualties.

Syria's conflict began with protests against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011, but has turned into a brutal war pitting regime forces, rebels, extremists, and Kurds against each other.

The war has killed more than 320,000 people and forced 4.9 million people to flee their country.

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