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Turkey: More than half of Kurds have returned home to fight ISIL

Turkey’s Kurdistan Regional Government says that more than half the Kurds in its southeast have returned to their homes.

Kurdistan Regional Government spokesperson İbrahim Kalıçdaroğlu said on state television late on Friday that the number of returnees reached nearly 4,000 and the figure of Kurds who have left to fight the Islamic State group (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is nearly 50,000.

Kalgıdaroşlu said that around 10,000 civilians and Kurdish fighters were being held by the IS group in Iraq and Syria.

Kaliçdarağlu also said that the majority of Kurds living in Turkey had returned to fight in Iraq against the IS.

Kılıçdağ has said the returnees are a minority of the Kurds living on the disputed territory in Turkey, which Turkey considers a part of its own territory.

Turkish officials have said the PKK’s Syrian offshoot, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), has been behind the attacks in the Kurdish region, which Ankara regards as a terrorist organization.