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Children 'safe and well' as 'Syria-bound' mother detained in Turkey

Published 01/09/2015

Zahera Tafiq and her children were thought to be heading to Syria
Zahera Tafiq and her children were thought to be heading to Syria

A mother feared to have been planning to travel to Syria with her four children has been detained in Turkey.

Police were trying to trace Zahera Tariq, 33, her sons Muhammad, 12, Amaar, 11, Aadid, four and daughter Safiyyah, nine, after they were last seen at her home address in Walthamstow, east London, a week ago.

Today Scotland Yard said officers received confirmation from Turkish authorities that the mother had been detained in the country, along with the four children, who were all said to be "safe and well".

Counter-terrorism officers launched an appeal for information about the family after a relative contacted police on Wednesday to report them missing.

They were believed to have flown from London City Airport to Amsterdam on Tuesday.

Detectives later found the family had been captured on CCTV at London City Airport prior to their flight to the Netherlands.

The Met Police said in a statement: "Officers were concerned that the woman had been considering travelling to Syria with her four children.

"Today, Tuesday September 1, officers received confirmation from the Turkish authorities that the woman had been detained in Turkey, along with her four children, who are all said to be safe and well.

"Officers are liaising with the Turkish authorities and inquiries continue."

Commander Richard Walton, from Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command, thanked the public and media for helping with the appeal to locate the family.

He said: "We had very real concerns that she may have been planning to travel with her children to Syria and she has now been detained with the children in Turkey.

"I would also like to thank our police counterparts in the Netherlands and Turkey, with whom we continue to have excellent working relationships."

Several cases have emerged in which women and children from the UK are feared to have gone to parts of Syria controlled by the so-called Islamic State.

Scotland Yard recently confirmed that it believed more than 40 women and girls had travelled to Syria from Britain in the last year.

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