16 arrested amid fears Britons linked to Syria violence


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The Independent Online

More than 16 people have been arrested since the beginning of the year amid rising fears of Britons being linked to fighting in Syria, it was reported.

The arrests were made as part of a crackdown on Britons believed to be heading out to Syria or on their way home from war zones and training camps in the Middle Eastern country. The 16 arrests in four weeks contrast with 24 terror suspect arrests linked to Syria for the whole of last year.

Suspects arrested this month include two 17-year-old girls, according to The Times, who were hoping to fly to Turkey before attempting to cross the border into Syria. They were later released without charge after questioning.

Several suspects have also had their passports confiscated, or an application refused, under strengthened powers wielded by Home Secretary Theresa May to tackle those suspected to be planning or involved in “fighting, extremist activity or terrorist training”.

Security is also understood to have been stepped up to intercept suspects at airports. Flights to Istanbul are being given particular close scrutiny.

Among those who have been arrested are Nawal Msaad, 26, who has been charged with trying to smuggle £16,500 to fighters based in Syria. The money is alleged to have been hidden in her underwear.