'Syria-bound' couple Asif Malik and Sara Kiran held in Moldova

Asif Malik and Sara Kiran Image copyright Thames Valley Police handouts

A UK couple believed to have been travelling to Syria with their four children have been deported from Turkey and detained in Moldova.

Asif Malik, 31 and Sara Kiran, 29, were arrested in Turkey two weeks ago after British police appealed for information about their whereabouts.

They chose to be sent to Moldova rather than return to Britain, Turkish officials said.

The family were reported missing from their home in Slough on 16 April.

"We can confirm the detention of a British family in Moldova," said a Foreign Office spokesman.

"We are working closely with UK and Moldavian authorities to help ensure their well-being. We will not comment further on cases involving minors."

The pair and their children, who are all aged seven and under, left Slough, Berkshire, on 7 April without mentioning their travel plans to relatives.

They boarded a ferry from Dover to Calais a few hours later, before travelling through Europe and crossing into Turkey through Greece.

Last month, police said online rhetoric from Islamic State (IS), the family's direction of travel, and concerns voiced by relatives, made officers "concerned" that they were heading for Syria.

Thames Valley Police also stressed that the family's disappearance was a missing persons inquiry - not a criminal investigation.

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