An Islamic State fighter carries the group’s flag in Raqqa, north-central Syria..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Eleven South Africans who traveled earlier in the year to Syrian territory controlled by the Islamic State terror group have returned to Johannesburg, Al Jazeera reported on Saturday.
According to the report, the South African State Security Agency confirmed that returned group, which included three children, had apparently flown back via Turkey to South Africa on Friday.
“The South African law enforcement agencies are aware of the individuals,” Al Jazeera quoted the country's State Security Agency spokesman Brian Dube as saying.
South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Co-Operation allegedly secured the return of the individuals, who have since been reunited with their families.
However, the report stated that the group's activities in Syria were not revealed. It also remained unclear where the South Africans had been based while in territory held by the group formerly known as ISIS.
The Arabic news network cited experts as saying that the handful of South Africans who have traveled to ISIS-controlled areas have done so without combatant purposes.
While some have gone to the turmoil-ridden Middle Eastern state for humanitarian purposes, others have traveled there with aims to help ISIS, a terrorism analyst told Al Jazeera.