ANKARA, Turkey – A video that appears to show a man helping three British schoolgirls on their way to join the Islamic State group in Syria was released Friday by a Turkish news channel.
A Haber television said that the video was filmed in Gaziantep on Turkey’s border with Syria by the man, who was later detained by Turkish authorities.
A Turkish government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, confirmed the video came from the police but didn’t elaborate on the content.
Turkish authorities said the man was working for the intelligence service of a country that is part of the anti-IS coalition, but did not publicly name the country. On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the man was a Syrian citizen.
In the video, a man speaking in English appears to tell the British girls that they will be in Syria within an hour. The three girls – identified by British authorities as Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15 – travelled from the U.K. to Turkey last month, from where they are believed to have crossed into Syria. Their journey highlighted the difficulty of halting the radicalization of young Muslims.
There has been tension between Turkey and Britain over who was to blame for the teenagers being able to sneak into Syria to join the extremist group, with Turkey accusing Britain of failing to notify authorities in time to prevent them from crossing the border. The girls had boarded a flight for Istanbul on Feb. 17.
Earlier this month, a Turkish television station obtained video showing the teenagers at an Istanbul bus terminal before they boarded a bus to a city near Turkey’s border with Syria.
Cavusoglu also said that Turkey has detained 16 Indonesians trying to cross the border into Syria to join the IS group and was looking for another group of the same size reported missing in Turkey. Turkish news reports say 11 children were among the 16 Indonesians who were caught.