Airports alerted over return of ‘Bangladeshi militants’ from Syria

:: Peoples Time Online ::

The Bangladeshi nationals, who went to Syria to fight for Islamic State (IS), may now return home as the militant group is about to be uprooted from the pockets in the civil war-torn Middle East country.

In such a context, alerts have been issued at all airports, according to officials at Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of the police, reports the prothom alo.

“We guess, the Bangladeshis who went to Syria have planned to return home. Airports have been asked to remain alert about any possible situation,”.

He said airports have been provided with necessary information along with suspected militants’ photos so that they cannot avoid arrest and officials have been asked to ensure that.

The CTTC unit chief said the militant suspects will require passports and travel documents to enter Bangladesh.

However, he added, it is assumed that they lost passports immediately after joining the IS. In that case, they can contact Bangladesh embassy in Turkey and officials there have also been asked to take necessary steps.

The police official could not confirm identity of those who are actually trying to return.

The last stronghold of IS in Syria was reportedly lost on Saturday.

Around 800 foreign militants were detained by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The US has called for their trial in their respective home countries.

The police officials said the government of Bangladesh has no intention to bring such militants back and try them.

Sources in the law enforcement said they have confirmed that two Bangladeshi passport holders — Ibrahim Hasan Khan and his brother Zunayed Hasan Khan want to return. Their family lived in Saudi Arabia for long although these two brothers went to Syria via Dhaka. Before leaving Bangladesh, they lived in a house in Bashundhara residential area.

It is learnt that physician Rokonuddin, who went to Syria along with his family, has been trying to return, officials said.

Dhaka Shisu Hospital physician Rokonuddin along with his wife Naima Akhtar, daughter Ramita Rokon and Rewana Rokon and son-in-law Sad Kayes left the country to join the IS.

According to the law enforcement agencies, a total of 40 Bangladeshi passport holders left the country to join the IS. It is believed that half of them died.

Efforts are on to find out whereabouts of the rest, likely to be around 20 millitants.

An official at the CTTC unit said some people possessing Bangladeshi passports may join the IS from other countries. At least one of such person has been detected. There are four to five Bangladeshis in Baghouz in eastern Syria where IS was defeated on Saturday. However, their fates are yet to be known.

Kurdish news agency ANHA published a report on detainees captured by SDF in Syria last month. It quoted Bangladeshi physician Arafat Rahman Tushar who went to Syria from Bangladesh.

“The Caliphate movement has come to an end. There is no trace of the caliph for whose call we went to Syria,” ANHA quoted Tushar as saying.

Ishfaq Ilahi Chowdhury, a retired air commodore, said those, who went to Syria, denied identity of their state and showed allegiance to the IS. “They should not be brought back under any circumstance,” he said adding that they would not be allowed to be regrouped.

Ilahi said it is true that IS was defeated in Syria, but there are some videos posted on social media where their activists and supporters are threatening to regroup.

Peoples Time/HG

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