Couple arrested at Heathrow Airport over Syria terror offences

The man and woman were leaving a flight from Turkey

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The Independent Online

A couple have been arrested at Heathrow Airport on suspicion of terror offences related to Syria.

Police detained a man, 20, and a woman, 19, both from Walsall near Birmingham, at around 10:30pm on Tuesday night as they left a flight from Istanbul, Turkey.

They were then held by officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit.

Police said that passengers on the flight had not been at risk. The arrests were described as “planned and intelligence led”.

Officers will now search two addresses in Walsall, and the suspects are currently in custody in the West Midlands.

The arrests come as Britain’s terrorism watchdog criticised the government’s proposed new security laws, describing some of the measures as an “announcement waiting for a policy”.

The bill introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May today is intended to stop Britons travelling Syria and Iraq to fight for or against Isis, and to prevent veterans of those conflicts from returning unless they agree to comply with the authorities under Temporary Exclusion Orders.

But David Anderson, Britain's independent reviewer of terrorism laws, told parliament's Committee on Human Rights that he was concerned about the judicial checks for the latter proposal.

“I sense that this power was an announcement waiting for a policy,” he said, adding the powers appeared less dramatic than when first announced by Prime Minister David Cameron shortly after Britain's terrorism level was raised to its second-highest rating.

He added: “The concern I have about this power, and the central concern about it, is where are the courts in all of this?”

Some 500 Britons are thought to have travelled to Syria and Iraq, with about 250 believed to have returned home.

Additional reporting PA