ISTANBUL – Turkish security forces said on Thursday in Istanbul that they have arrested nine British nationals trying to cross illegally into Syria.
They said the Britons were arrested near Hatay Province on the Turkish side of the Syrian border.
They said it was not clear why the nine people were trying to cross the frontier.
The British Foreign Office spokesman said in London, that the government was aware of the arrest.
He said British government was in contact with the Turkish authorities and stands ready to provide consular assistance.
Meanwhile, a security officer said on condition of anonymity in Istanbul, that security services estimated that more 600 Britons have gone to Syria or Iraq to join militant groups.
The source said one of them is the man known as “Jihadi John,” who has appeared in several Islamic State (IS) beheading videos.
He said last month, three male British teenagers suspected of planning to join IS militants in Syria were arrested by London police after being deported from Turkey.
He said their arrest came after three London schoolgirls entered Turkey earlier this year and were thought to have joined IS in Syria.
He disclosed that thousands of foreigners from various countries have joined the ranks of radical groups in Syria and Iraq, many of them crossing through Turkey.(Reuters/NAN)
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