Briton who 'fled Syria' held in Turkey on suspicion of terror offences

Updated: 

A Briton suspected of fleeing Syria after spending two years in Islamic State-held territory has been arrested in Turkey.

The man, understood to be Stefan Aristidou, from Enfield, north London, is reportedly being held on suspicion of terror offences after surrendering to authorities near the Turkey/Syria border.

The 23-year-old had been missing since flying to Cyprus in April 2015 and was arrested in Kilis, a Turkish town three miles from the Syria border and 43 miles from Aleppo last week.

According to The Guardian, Aristidou, who is of Greek heritage, told police he had travelled to Syria to settle rather than fight.

He reportedly told investigators he had lived in Raqqa, the de facto capital of IS, and al-Bab, a city formerly under IS control.

An appeal was launched by the Lucy Blackman Trust, a charity supporting families of Britons missing or murdered overseas, after Aristidou disappeared in 2015.

Then 20 years old, he arrived in Cyprus at Larnaca airport on April 5 and made his last contact with loved ones on April 12.

Turkish authorities are reportedly seeking to jail Aristidou for between seven-and-a-half and 15 years and he could face further prosecution under terror legislation when he returns to the UK.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are in contact with the Turkish authorities following the detention of a British man on the Turkey/Syria border."

According to government figures released in November, approximately 800 individuals "of national security concern" had travelled to take part in the Syria conflict since it began.

Approximately half of those had returned at the time the figures were released.