Middle East

Turkey detains 16 Indonesians trying to cross into Syria

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan chairs a meeting with cabinet ministers at the Presidential Palace in Ankara March 9, 2015. REUTERS/Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace Press Office

ANKARA, Turkey: Turkey says it has detained 16 Indonesians trying to cross the border into Syria to join the Islamic State extremist group.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said Friday that police were looking for another group of 16 Indonesians reported missing in Turkey. Turkish news reports say 11 children were among the 16 Indonesians who were caught.

Cavusoglu was speaking a day after he announced that Turkish authorities had detained a foreign intelligence service operative who allegedly helped three British schoolgirls cross from Turkey into Syria to join the IS group last month. Cavusoglu said Friday the man is a Syrian who had worked for the intelligence service of a country that is part of the anti-IS coalition. Cavusoglu has not named the country.

Later Friday, Turkey's A Haber television released a video that it says it obtained of the arrested intelligence operative recording his interactions with the British girls. The report said the video was filmed in Gaziantep on Turkey's border with Syria. A Turkish government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, confirmed the authenticity of the video.

In the video, a man speaking in English appears to tell the British girls that they will be in Syria within an hour.

 

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