Turkey arrests nine British nationals seeking to cross to Syria: Army

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Turkey has arrested nine British nationals on the Syrian border as they sought to illegally cross over from Turkey, the army said on Thursday.

"Nine people of British nationality were arrested on the border trying to enter Syria from Turkey," the army said in a statement on its website, adding that the arrests took place in the Hatay region of southern Turkey.

The army gave no further details on the identities and intentions of those arrested.

Turkey has in the last 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 Islamic State militants in Syria.

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

A group of nine British medical students of Sudanese origin went missing last month after travelling to Turkey with the apparent aim of crossing into Syria to join Islamic State.

Ankara was sharply criticised over the failure to stop three British teenage girls who crossed the Turkey-Syria border to join the militants in February.

But in late March it deported back to Britain a young British woman and three male teenagers suspected of trying to travel to Syria.

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