Turkey accused of handing 'British jihadists Shabazz Suleman and Hisham Folkard' back to Isis in return for hostages

Two men have been reportedly named on a leaked list of more than a hundred released prisoners

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The Independent Online

Two British jihadists are believed to have been among more than a hundred prisoners freed back into the arms of Isis by Turkey, in order to secure the freedom of diplomats held hostage by the militant group, it was claimed in reports published today.

Two men named as Shabazz Suleman, 18, and Hisham Folkard, 26, are being investigated by British counter-terrorism officers, The Times reported. The newspaper said it had seen their names on a leaked list, which it alleged had in turn been confirmed by Isis sources.

The deal reportedly involved a trade-off of 180 Isis fighters in return for Turkish diplomats, including 46 Turkish citizens and three local Iraqis, who had been seized in the city of Mosul five months ago.

Ten EU citizens were said to be among those released by Turkey in the deal, which has reportedly been verified in the local media by Syrian rebels and Turkish security sources.

Folkard’s father, a Roman catholic, told The Times that he had not been in contact with his son since early August, after officers from the north-east counter-terrorism unit contacted him to ask about Hisham’s older brother Omar. He claimed that he “hardly knew” either of the men, who had been taken away by their mother before travelling to Yemen to study Islam. Suleman, who was due to take his A-Levels at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe last summer, had expressed support for “the Islamic caliphate”, according to friends.


President Erdogan of Turkey described the deal as a successful “covert operation”.  The move contrasts with the UK’s policy, in which the government has made it clear that it will take part in no such negotiations with Isis.

On Friday, 47-year-old humanitarian worker Alan Henning became the second British hostage to be murdered by the militants. The Salford taxi driver was captured in December after travelling to Syria as part of an aid convoy.

Prime Minster David Cameron said the “brutal murder” was “completely unforgivable” and vowed to hunt down Henning’s killers.