ANKARA Ñ For the first time, Syria has surrendered to Turkey
insurgents suspected of being involved in an Al Qaida attack.
All suspects were identified as Turkish nationals.
The regime of President Bashar Assad has handed over 22 people suspected
of participating in the twin suicide attacks in Istanbul in November. The
suspects were said to have fled from Turkey to neighboring Syria and included
aides to the architect of the strikes.
The semi-official Anatolia news agency reported that several of those
detained and extradited by Syria were connected to Azad Ekinci, Middle East Newsline reported.
escaped Turkey, was said to have been the key planner of the Al Qaida
attacks and bought the two pickup trucks used in the bombings.
The Al Qaida attacks on synagogues in Istanbul resulted in the deaths of
29 people on Nov. 15. Five days later, Al Qaida was attributed with another
set of car bombings that killed 32 people and destroyed the offices of a
leading British bank and the British consulate.
Turkish officials said the man believed to have ordered the synagogue
attacks has been captured as he sought to escape to Iran. The suspect was
identified as Yusef Polat, 29, linked with Al Qaida, and officials said he
directed the suicide bombers to the two synagogues.
The Syrian extradition of the Turkish suspects marks the first major
step in security cooperation between Ankara and Damascus. In 2002, Syria and
Turkey signed several agreements regarding security and military cooperation
that was meant to end Syria's harboring of Kurdish insurgents. Since then,
the two countries have eased security restrictions along their border and
cleared mines along the Turkish side.