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Nine Britons trying to enter Syria detained in Turkey

Ankara: Nine British nationals trying to illegally enter the conflict-ridden Syria through Turkey have been detained, and handed over to judicial authorities, Turkish officials said on Wednesday.

The Britons were trying to cross into Syria from the Hatay province in southern Turkey, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement, according to a Xinhua report.

The Britons’ bid to enter Syria assumes significance in view of attempts by people of different nationalities to cross into the war-torn country to join the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organisation, which has captured a large swathes of territory in Syria and the neighbouring Iraq since last year.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that around 1,154 foreign fighters had been deported from Turkey and 19,500 people banned from travelling to the country.

He added that 16 people from Indonesia had been captured while trying to cross into Syria.

A British woman, detained in Ankara on the suspicion of trying to cross into Syria to join the IS, was deported to Britain earlier this month.

In Feburary, three British teenagers suspected of planning to join the IS were detained in the Turkish city of Istanbul and deported.