Nine British medical students join Syrian conflict


Syrian rebels opening fire during clashes with pro-Assad forces in Aleppo. File photo

Nine British medical students have traveled to Syria, apparently to work in hospitals controlled by Islamic State, Britain’s Observer newspaper reported on Saturday.

The group of four women and five men crossed into Syria from Turkey last week, having traveled from Sudan where they had been studying, according to the story, published on the website of the Observer’s sister paper, the Guardian.

It quoted Turkish opposition politician Mehmet Ali Ediboglu, who had met members of the students’ families who were trying to persuade the students to return.

Britain’s security services estimate that some 600 Britons have gone to Syria or Iraq to join militant groups, including the man known as “Jihadi John”, who has appeared in several Islamic State beheading videos.

The Islamic State’s attempt to create a theocratic Sunni Muslim ‘caliphate’ by violent means has attracted thousands of recruits from Europe and elsewhere.

Three British schoolgirls are thought to have traveled through Turkey to Syria in February to join the militant group, in one recent high-profile case. Their families and British authorities have made repeated appeals for them to return home.

The group of medical students are in their late teens and early 20s and according to the Observer, all have Sudanese roots but were born and brought up in Britain.


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