Nine British medical students have traveled to Syria to serve at field hospitals run by the ISIL Takfiri terrorists, a report says.
The team of medical students comprises four female and five male students, according to a report by the Observer on Saturday.
The students flew from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, to Istanbul in Turkey on March 12, and headed for the border with Syria by bus a day after.
The students have been identified as Maumoon Abdulqadir, Nada Sami Kader, Rowan Kamal Zine El Abidine, Tasneem Suleyman Huseyin, Ismail Hamadoun, Tamer Ahmed Ebu Sebah, Mohamed Osama Badri Mohammed, Hisham Mohammed Fadlallah, and Sami Ahmed Kadir.
“We all assume that they are in Tel Abyad now, which is under ISIS control. The conflict out there is fierce, so medical help must be needed,” the Observer quoted Turkish opposition politician Mehmet Ali Ediboglu as saying on Saturday, using the alternative for ISIL.
The Turkish opposition figure made the remarks after a meeting with the families of the medical students at the Turkey-Syria border.
The families are reportedly making a desperate effort to persuade the students to come back home.
“They have been cheated, brainwashed. That is what I, and their relatives, think,” Ediboglu said, adding that three of the students, who are all in their late teens or early 20s, had been graduated and the others were medical students in Khartoum.
“These kids were born and raised in England, but they were sent to Sudan to study at medical school,” Ediboglu said.
The students may have been accompanied by two Sudanese classmates, Ediboglu said.
The Turkish opposition figure also criticized the Turkish government for being indifferent toward the issue.
“The kids are sending messages to the families every day saying, ‘Don’t worry about us, we are working, we are fine.’ It shouldn’t be hard for the Turkish National Intelligence Service to track their phones. But they are taking things slow. Unfortunately we haven’t seen any support from our government yet. They didn’t help and I have the impression that they don’t care at all. But we are not going to give up looking for them, especially me,” Ediboglu added.
At least 600 Britons are estimated to have slipped into Syria to join the ranks of foreign-sponsored militants operating against the government of President Bashar al-Assad since 2011.
Turkey has been accused of failing to control its 901-kilometer (560-mile) border with Syria and allowing terrorists easy passage. Ankara has in turn complained that European police forces have been slow to share information on extremists traveling through the country.
Meanwhile, Ankara is widely believed to be facilitating the flow of foreign nationals into neighboring Syria and Iraq, where they join the ranks of terrorist groups.
ISIL, with members from several Western countries, controls parts of Syria and Iraq, and has been carrying out horrific acts of violence such as public decapitations and crucifixions against all communities such as Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians.