Turkey detains 'foreign spy' for allegedly helping missing British schoolgirls travel to Syria

Turkish Foreign Minister made announcement in interview

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The Independent Online

Turkey has detained a “foreign spy” it claims helped three British schoolgirls travel to Syria to join Isis.

The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said a person was being held during an interview with A Haber TV.

He was quoted as saying: "Do you know who was the person who helped these girls? This person was caught. It turned out to be someone who worked in the intelligence services of a country in the coalition.”

He claimed the suspect aided the girls despite working for the intelligence agency of a country that is part of the US-led coalition against Isis.

Mr Cavusoglu would not state the unidentified agent's nationality, but said they are not from the US or countries within the European Union. The Foreign Minister said he has shared this information with his counterpart.

Kadiza Sultana, 16, Shamima Begum, 15, and Amira Abase, 15, disappeared from their family homes in Bethnal Green, east London, on 17 February.

They paid for flights from Gatwick Airport to Istanbul in cash and were later seen waiting for hours for a bus heading to Urfa, close to the Syrian border.

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CCTV footage has emerged believed to show the three teenage girls - Shamima Begum, Kadiza Sultana, and Amira Abase - at a bus station in Istanbul in the footage

The girls are believed to have crossed over into the Isis stronghold of Raqqa last week and headed to a house hosted by a British girl who was in contact with at least one of them online before they disappeared.

Some reports suggested the girls were heading to an Isis training camp.

A spokesperson for the UK Foreign Office said: “We are aware that an arrest has been made by the Turkish National Police and that the Metropolitan Police have informed the families of the three girls.

“There has been close cooperation between ourselves and the Turkish authorities, and the Foreign Secretary is in regular contact with his Turkish counterpart. As soon as the UK received this information it was acted upon appropriately.”

Additional reporting by agencies

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