​9 Britons arrested at Turkey-Syria border

Militant Islamist fighters (Reuters/Stringer)
Nine British nationals have been arrested by the Turkish authorities while attempting to enter Syria, according to the country’s military.

The group were stopped by soldiers in the southern Hatay region of Turkey and are now believed to be in local police custody.

In a statement on its website the Turkish army said: “Nine people of British nationality were arrested on the border trying to enter Syria from Turkey.

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It is unclear whether the group were attempting to join the Iso-called Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) , but they are the largest single group to have been detained.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesperson said: “We are in contact with the Turkish authorities and stand ready to provide consular assistance.”

It is believed that up to 600 Britons have joined the Islamic State, the most high profile being IS executioner Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John.

Last month, UK security services faced heavy criticism after three schoolgirls from Bethnal Green, London, made their way to Turkey before entering Syria.

Last Friday, a senior prosecutor warned that more school children could use the Easter Holidays to flee the UK and join the Islamic State because head teachers have failed to report at-risk youngsters to authorities for fear their schools would be investigated.

READ MORE: Spring break for ISIS? Senior prosecutor warns students could flee during holidays

Nazir Afzal said although schools are concerned about the possible disappearance of teenagers over the holidays, staff members were not reporting students in case they become criminalized.

Afzal, who stood down as chief crown prosecutor for northwest England last Tuesday, told the Times that head teachers had personally told him at least a dozen male and female students at two London state schools may have been ‘groomed and seduced’ by IS.