Nine people held on the Turkey border from Rochdale

Greater Manchester Police and the North West Counter Terrorism have launched an investigation into nine people stopped by Turkish authorities at the Turkey/Syria border. 

The five adults, aged 21, 22, 22, 24 and 47 and four children, aged one, three, eight and 11, are believed to be related and currently live in Rochdale. 

They were stopped at the Turkey/Syria border and are expected to be returned to the U.K in due course. 

Officers have commenced an investigation to establish their reason for travel and apparent attempted entry into Syria. 

At this time officers have uncovered no evidence whatsoever of any imminent threat to the communities of Rochdale or indeed the U.K. 

Officers are working closely with Rochdale Borough Council, local partners, and faith leaders as part of the ‘Prevent’ initiative. 

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Wiggett, said: “What is obviously concerning is why a family were seemingly attempting to take very young and vulnerable children into a warzone; such a volatile and dangerous environment is no place for them whatsoever. 

“We have commenced an investigation to try and establish their reasons for travel and as this is a live investigation - which is very much in its infancy - we are not in a position to comment further. 

“One of our primary concerns is the safety and welfare of the young children and we are working with partners to ensure a full safeguarding strategy is in place upon their return to the U.K. 

“GMP has been working extremely hard with local authorities and faith and community leaders across the region as part of the Prevent initiative, to highlight the dangers associated with radicalisation and travel to regions such as Syria. We are all working together to help identify vulnerable members of our society and intervene and engage them before it is too late. 

“I would also like to take the opportunity to remind everyone of their responsibility to help us in our fight against extremism and prevent anyone thinking of travelling to Syria or other warzones from going. 

“This is especially difficult for parents or people with close relationships with those people in question but it is these people who are most likely to spot the early signs of radicalisation. 

“If anyone has any information about individuals or groups they think are a concern or vulnerable to radicalisation they can call us in complete and utter confidence.”