On September 23, ex-Soviet nation Azerbaijan announced the arrest of 26 citizens accused of joining Islamic militants in Syria, including ISIS.
The arrests were announced just “hours” after the US, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, carried out airstrikes against ISIS positions in Syria.
According to the Associated Press, the Azerbaijan National Security Ministry said the 26 citizens were “accused of involvement in illegally armed groups, trafficking of weapons and explosives and other charges that could carry life imprisonment.” The suspects had been out of the country and were arrested upon returning.
Among the suspects was one accused of “moving to Syria via Turkey” to join ISIS. Another was accused of “[encouraging] his 15-year-old son to go to Syria to join the militants.” The 15-year-old was persuaded to join the militancy.
Reports indicate over 100 Azerbaijans have been killed in Syria while fighting alongside militants.
Although the arrests were announced on September 23, Fox News reports that Azerbaijan officials have not said when the arrests were made.
Azerbaijan is a strong US ally that contributed troops to anti-terror efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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