Police officers stand guard outside the family home of one of nine British citizens detained by Turkish authorities for allegedly attempting to illegally enter Syria
Police officers stand guard outside the family home of one of nine British citizens detained by Turkish authorities for allegedly attempting to illegally enter Syria © Oli Scarff - AFP/File
Police officers stand guard outside the family home of one of nine British citizens detained by Turkish authorities for allegedly attempting to illegally enter Syria
AFP
Last updated: April 14, 2015

Turkey deports 9 Britons who tried to cross into Syria

Turkey on Tuesday deported nine Britons, including the son of a local councillor, two weeks after arresting them for attempting to cross into Syria to join jihadists, the official news agency said.

The nine were taken by minibus from custody cells in the Hatay region of south Turkey on the Syrian border to the city of of Adana where they were put on a flight to the Mediterranean city of Antalya, the Anatolia news agency said.

From Antalya, they were then put on another flight back to Britain.

The nine had been arrested on April 1 and their case generated huge attention after it emerged that the group included four children and the son of a British local politician.

Waheed Ahmed, 22, is son of Shakil Ahmed, a councillor for the opposition Labour party on Rochdale Borough Council in the north of the country.

Turkey has in the past months been repeatedly criticised by its Western allies for not doing enough to halt the flow across Turkish territory of European nationals seeking to join IS jihadists in Syria.

However, it has made a number of arrests in recent months in an apparent bid to deflect the criticism and insists it is doing all it can to control the border.

The deportation of the nine back to Britain took much longer than expected.

Turkish reports had said they would be deported a few days after their arrest and it is not immediately clear why the formalities took so long to complete.

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