UK

Waheed Ahmed: 'Syria-bound' councillor's son to return to UK

Waheed Ahmed Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Waheed Ahmed being led into Antalya coach station

A Labour councillor's son, held in Turkey on suspicion of trying to enter Syria illegally is expected to return to the UK.

Waheed Ahmed has been detained along with eight other Britons in Hatay near the Syrian border since Wednesday, 1 April.

Footage released on Sunday shows him being put on a coach to Antalya, which is 509 miles west of Hatay.

The group of nine from Rochdale included five adults and four children.

His father, Rochdale Labour councillor Shakil Ahmed, said he "wanted his son to come home as soon as possible".

Simon Danczuk, the MP for Rochdale in the last Parliament, has confirmed after speaking to the Foreign Office that Mr Ahmed is being deported back to Britain.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Waheed Ahmed walking out of Antakya police station in Hatay, Turkey

In footage released by Reuters, Mr Ahmed is seen leaving a police station in Hatay.

He is then filmed getting on a coach to Antalya from where it is believed he will fly to the UK.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Waheed Ahmed is filmed getting on a coach at Antakya bus station

Greater Manchester Police and the North West Counter Terrorism Unit have launched an investigation to establish why the group apparently tried to enter Syria.

All nine would be sent back to the UK "in due course", police said.

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Wiggett has said that the primary concern was the "safety and welfare" of the children, and efforts were being made to ensure a "full safeguarding strategy" was in place upon their return.

Police have been searching his family home in Rochdale.

Image copyright Yunus Muller, BBC
Image caption Police have been searching Waheed Ahmed's family home in Rochdale

His father said he had thought his son was on holiday.

In a statement Councillor Shakil Ahmed said: "My son is a good Muslim and his loyalties belong to Britain, so I don't understand what he's doing there.

"If I thought for a second that he was in danger of being radicalised, I would have reported him to the authorities.

"He's studying a degree in politics and sociology at Manchester University and has a good future ahead of him."

More on this story