Nine British Nationals Arrested at Turkey Border


Investigation Launched to “Find Reason for Travelling”

Greater Manchester Police and the North West Counter Terrorism Unit have launched an investigation into nine people stopped by Turkish authorities at the Turkey/Syria border.
The five adults, aged 21, 22, 22, 24 and 47 and four children, aged one, three, eight and 11, are believed to be related and currently live in Rochdale.
They were stopped at the Turkey/Syria border and are expected to be returned to the U.K in due course.
Officers have commenced an investigation to establish their reason for travel and apparent attempted entry into Syria.
At this time officers have uncovered no evidence whatsoever of any imminent threat to the communities of Rochdale or indeed the U.K.
Officers are working closely with Rochdale Borough Council, local partners, and faith leaders as part of the ‘Prevent’ initiative.
Assistant Chief Constable Ian Wiggett, said: “What is obviously concerning is why a family were seemingly attempting to take very young and vulnerable children into a warzone; such a volatile and dangerous environment is no place for them whatsoever.
“We have commenced an investigation to try and establish their reasons for travel and as this is a live investigation – which is very much in its infancy – we are not in a position to comment further.
“One of our primary concerns is the safety and welfare of the young children and we are working with partners to ensure a full safeguarding strategy is in place upon their return to the U.K.
“GMP has been working extremely hard with local authorities and faith and community leaders across the region as part of the Prevent initiative, to highlight the dangers associated with radicalisation and travel to regions such as Syria. We are all working together to help identify vulnerable members of our society and intervene and engage them before it is too late.
“I would also like to take the opportunity to remind everyone of their responsibility to help us in our fight against extremism and prevent anyone thinking of travelling to Syria or other warzones from going.
“This is especially difficult for parents or people with close relationships with those people in question but it is these people who are most likely to spot the early signs of radicalisation.
“If anyone has any information about individuals or groups they think are a concern or vulnerable to radicalisation they can call us in complete and utter confidence.”
One of the men is said to be the son of Rochdale Labour Councillor, Shakil Ahmed, and searches are being carried out at his home.
Mr Ahmed said that among those detained were Waheed’s aunt, Zadia Bi, two of Zadia’s sons and one of the son’s wives.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Mr Ahmed said, “I was shocked, worried and extremely upset to hear that my son has been arrested on the Turkey-Syria border. It’s a total mystery to me why he’s there, as I was under the impression he was on a work placement in Birmingham.
“My son is a good Muslim and his loyalties belong to Britain, so I don’t understand what he’s doing there. If I thought for a second that he was in danger of being radicalised, I would have reported him to the authorities.
“He’s studying a degree in politics and sociology at Manchester University and has a good future ahead of him. I just want to speak to my son and get him home as soon as possible so I can find out what’s going on.”
Additionally, five men, aged 25 from Small Heath, 26 from Acocks Green, 26 from Alum Rock, 26 of no fixed abode and 28 from Lozells – plus a woman aged 23 of no fixed abode, were detained by West Midlands Police on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences.
A spokesperson for WMP said, “Searches are taking place at a number of addresses in Birmingham. The arrests were part of an on-going investigation. The suspects − who are not a family group and were not accompanied by children – did not pose any immediate risk to public safety.”


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