French, Turkish intelligence collaborate to thwart far-left militant returnees – report

French and Turkish intelligence agencies are working together to address concerns that left-wing militants could carry out attacks after returning from the conflict in northern Syria, Turkish daily Hürriyet reported.

Around 100 far-left returnees are already being monitored by French intelligence after returning from Syria, where they fought alongside Kurdish militias, Hürriyet said, citing a September 1 report in French investigative journal Mediapart.

Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation has been cooperating with French intelligence to identify fighters returning from Syria, according to Mediapart’s report.

The authorities believe that an individual who opened fire on a gendarmerie helicopter in April 2018 in the Notre-Dame-Des-Landes commune in western France was a returning militant, the report said.

Security forces believe the far-left groups could be plotting attacks on symbolic landmarks in the country, it said.

Kurdish militias including the People’s Protection Units (YPG) gained control over large territories in north and east Syria during the eight-year conflict.

The group’s Marxist origins and style of self-governance attracted foreign leftists to join its defence of those territories against the Islamic State. The YPG has also been in conflict with the Turkish military, which sees it as a terrorist organisation due to its links to left-wing Kurdish militants in Turkey.