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Turkey 'to deport Syria-bid Briton'

Published 13/04/2015

Labour MP for Rochdale Simon Danczuk.
Labour MP for Rochdale Simon Danczuk.

A Labour councillor's son who was detained in Turkey on suspicion of trying to enter Syria illegally is being flown back to the UK, it has been claimed.

Waheed Ahmed, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, and eight of his relatives were stopped by Turkish authorities as they allegedly tried to cross the border into the war-torn country on April 1.

Simon Danczuk, who is defending the Rochdale seat for Labour in the General Election, said he been told by the Foreign Office that Ahmed was due to arrive into Birmingham Airport today.

The Foreign Office said it did not comment on individual cases.

Mr Danczuk could not confirm when the remaining eight Britons would return to the UK.

The group of two women aged 47 and 22, three men aged 24, 22 and 21, and four children aged one, three, eight and 11, were stopped in Turkey's Hatay province, close to the Syrian border.

Video footage emerged yesterday which apparently showed Ahmed leaving a police station and being put on a coach to Antalya, which is 509 miles west of Hatay.

Labour councillor Shakil Ahmed said he thought his son had been in Birmingham on a work placement when he discovered that he had been detained in Turkey.

Police searched Mr Ahmed's home earlier this month for clues about why his son had travelled to the country.

After the group was detained, Greater Manchester Police said it had uncovered "no evidence whatsoever" of any imminent threat to the Rochdale community or elsewhere in the UK.

In a statement following his son's arrest, Mr Ahmed, a councillor who represents the Kingsway ward on Rochdale Borough Council, said: "I was shocked, worried and extremely upset to hear that my son has been arrested on the Turkey-Syria border.

"It's a total mystery to me why he's there, as I was under the impression he was on a work placement in Birmingham.

"My son is a good Muslim and his loyalties belong to Britain, so I don't understand what he's doing there. If I thought for a second that he was in danger of being radicalised, I would have reported him to the authorities.

"He's studying a degree in politics and sociology at Manchester University and has a good future ahead of him. I just want to speak to my son and get him home as soon as possible so I can find out what's going on."

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