Three New Zealanders caught attempting to enter Turkey from Syria

Turkey apprehended three New Zealand nationals at its southern border with Syria, the Defence Ministry said on Monday.

One of the people was 26-year-old S.A., an alleged member of the Islamic State (ISIS) who was a wanted person under an Interpol blue notice, the ministry said. Security forces handed the woman over to a prosecutor’s office in Hatay, a province neighbouring Syria.

The other two people caught at the border were minors, the ministry said.

New Zealand’s Foreign Ministry said it was “aware of the situation”, according to the New Zealand Herald.

A blue notice is issued to collect further information on a person in relation to a criminal investigation.

“It doesn't mean she's been doing anything bad,” the New Zealand Herald cited an intelligence expert as saying. “Walking across the border with kids would seem to indicate she was a camp follower or concubine."

S.A. was a dual citizen of both New Zealand and Australia, and moved to Australia from New Zealand when she was six, the Guardian reported. She was detained in Syria in 2019 after ISIS lost its last territory in the country.