ANKARA: Turkish security forces on Sunday arrested 30 Daesh-linked suspects, all foreign nationals, in the capital Ankara.
The operation’s timing is significant ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations, as the suspects were allegedly plotting terror attacks.
Meanwhile, authorities in Istanbul have stepped up security precautions in busy parts of the city, including the iconic Taksim Square, where celebratory gatherings have been banned.
As of Dec. 21, police had conducted more than 1.5 million identity checks in Istanbul, arresting more than 4,000 people on various charges.
A Daesh-linked lone gunman attacked a nightclub in Istanbul on Jan. 1, 2016, killing many foreigners (including Saudis) as well as Turks.
In another development, Australia has stripped a fighter held in Turkey of his citizenship due to his ties to Daesh.
The US announcement of its planned withdrawal from Syria has put Turkey, which Washington expects to wipe out the remnants of Daesh in Syria, at the forefront of the terror group’s potential targets.
The Turkish military is preparing another major operation against terror groups, including Daesh, in Syria.
Erol Bural, a former military officer and a terrorism expert at the 21st Century Turkey Institute, said the threat from Daesh has not been eliminated completely.
“Among European countries, Turkey has been hit hardest by Daesh attacks. The terror group decides on its acts in line with regional dynamics,” Bural told Arab News.
Experts say the nightclub attack was a turning point in terms of increased security precautions by Turkish authorities against potential attacks by Daesh militants ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“More than 1,100 operations were conducted against Daesh in 2018 throughout the country, and two large Daesh attacks were prevented before they occurred. Security measures were also increased at the border crossings between Turkey and Syria,” Bural said.