Three males stopped in Turkey trying to cross the border into Syria are arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences by Met police.
Three British teenagers are back in the UK after being detained for allegedly trying to travel to Syria to join terror group Islamic State, reports Sky News. The group, a 19-year-old male and two boys aged 17, are being held at a central London police station after being arrested on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts, said Scotland Yard. They were apprehended at Sabiha Gokcen airport in the Turkish city of Istanbul. It is believed they travelled from England to Spain before flying on to the country.
The detainees have not been named, but Sky sources in Turkey say the initials of the men are GH, MNG, and MA. In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said counter-terrorism officers were alerted on Friday that two 17-year-olds from northwest London had gone missing and were believed to be travelling to Syria. Enquiries revealed they had gone with a third male, aged 19. Officers alerted Turkish authorities who intercepted all three and prevented them crossing into Syria.
A Met police spokesman said: “On Saturday, 14 March the three males returned to the UK and at approximately 11.10pm were arrested on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts contrary to section five of the Terrorism Act 2006. “All three have been taken to a central London police station, where they remain in custody.” The detention of the males points to a new level of cooperation between the UK and Turkish police forces, which has faced criticism after three British schoolgirls travelled to Syria to join IS.
Kadiza Sultana, 16, Shamima Begum, 15, and Amira Abase, 15, flew from Gatwick to Istanbul on 17 February and are feared to have continued to Syria to become so-called “jihadi brides”. The girls, who all attended Bethnal Green Academy in East London, are believed to be staying in a house in the IS militants’ stronghold Raqqa. Speaking after the detention of the three males, Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: “We need to be vigilant. “Clearly this flight of young people to Turkey in order to go to Syria is on a much larger scale than we envisaged.” Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State John Kerry has said he would be willing to talk with Bashar al Assad to stop Syria’s four-year civil war.