Syria-bound Brits could be deported

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Published: Thursday 2nd April 2015 by The News Editor

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Nine British nationals detained in Turkey after allegedly trying to cross illegally into Syria could be deported today, according to reports.

Footage released earlier apparently shows the Britons arriving at a police station in the Southern Hatay province, where they are understood to have been kept overnight.

The group – which reportedly includes three men, two women and four children – were arrested yesterday in Hatay province, which shares a border with war-torn Syria.

According to Sky News, Turkish MP Mehmet Ali Ediboglu said last night: “They are being held at a paramilitary outpost. Probably, they will be deported to their country tomorrow.”

The Foreign Office said it is in contact with the Turkish authorities.

The group is believed to include children aged from two to 10 years old, ITV News reported.

The latest arrests come after three young men were detained at the Turkey-Syria border last month. They were tracked down after police were given a tip-off about their alleged plan to enter the country.

A woman was also arrested at the border in March on a separate occasion.

Meanwhile, in February, police launched an international manhunt for three schoolgirls who went missing from their east London homes.

Bethnal Green Academy pupils Shamima Begum, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana are now believed to be inside Syria after flying to Turkey on a well-trodden path to the country.

It is understood they were following another 15-year-old girl who travelled there in December. A High Court judge has since confiscated the passports of four other pupils at the school after concerns were raised by Tower Hamlets Council.

The Metropolitan Police believe around 600 Britons have travelled to Syria and Iraq since the conflict began, while around half are believed to have returned to the UK.

Shiraz Maher, from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College in London, said the latest nine Britons to be arrested were detained in the town of Reyhanli, which has been a popular crossing point for fighters trying to get into Syria.

It is still not clear why the British group allegedly tried to enter Syria and Mr Maher said the motivations of people travelling to the war-torn country had been “very different” since the conflict began.

“People in the early stages of the conflict were motivated by humanitarian causes,” he said. “Other people were adventure seeking or thrill seeking.

“People going now are very ideologically dedicated to Islamic State.”

Published: Thursday 2nd April 2015 by The News Editor

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