ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - A Japanese national was released from police custody in Kurdistan Region last week after entering the country from the northern border, close to the ISIS-held areas.
Japanese foreign ministry officials said the man is back in Japan after being questioned by Kurdish security police.
Local authorities say most recruited foreign fighters who join the ISIS in Syria and Iraq enter the battle zones through the Turkish borders. The man's motives were not released.
“Security measures have been tightened in these areas and we thoroughly question anyone who enters our region from the Turkish border,” said Abdulwahab Muhamma, a Kurdish security official at the Ibrahim Khalil border gate.
Muhammad said no traveler under the age of 18 is allowed to cross the border without the consent of their parents, adding that Arab nationals who wish to enter from Turkey must have a “Kurdish guarantor” in Kurdistan Region.
“We have good collaboration with the Interpol and receive the names of the international suspects routinely,” he added.
Estimates of the total number of foreign Sunnis who have fought for the Islamic State over the course of the conflict range from 5,000 to over 10,000.
Over 600 foreign fighters were killed in the first half of 2013 alone, intelligence sources say.