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UK arrests man on 'Syria-related' terror offences after deportation from Turkey

Turkey said it was deporting a British national suspected of travelling to territory previously held by the Islamic State group
It remains unclear whether Turkey notified London it was deporting a British national suspected of travelling to IS territory (AFP)

British counter-terror police have arrested a man at London's Heathrow airport for suspected terror offences after he was deported from Turkey.

London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Thursday that the 26-year-old man was arrested on "suspicion of terrorism offences" after he landed at Heathrow on a flight from Turkey.

"He was arrested on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts," the statement read.

Police also said the arrest was "Syria-related", but did not provide further detail.

Earlier on Thursday, Turkey's Interior Ministry said seven Germans and one British national would be deported to Berlin and London, respectively.

It remains unclear whether Turkish authorities notified Britain ahead of time that it would be deporting the British national.

Turkey has repeatedly vowed to deport European nationals suspected of travelling to territories previously held by the Islamic State (IS) group, after several countries failed to repatriate them or stripped them of their citizenship. 

Ankara also confirmed on Thursday that the United States had agreed to take back a suspected IS militant who had been stranded on the Greek-Turkish border.

Foreign fighters

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said last week that Turkey had nearly 1,200 foreign members of IS in custody, and had captured 287 suspected fighters during its recent incursion into northern  Syria.

The Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on Wednesday that 959 IS suspects were being prepared for deportation. Most of those suspects are nationals of Iraq, Syria and Russia, it said.

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Last month, a British court heard that the UK had considered repatriating IS-linked citizens.

The information emerged during an appeal hearing in the case of Shamima Begum, a British teenager who travelled to IS-held territory in Syria and who is challenging the UK government's decision to revoke her citizenship.

Britain has publicly said that it would not take back any British nationals, including children, who are stranded in northern Syria.

The UK has not ruled out taking back British nationals linked to IS if they seek consular assistance in a country outside of Syria, however.

Although the 1961 New York Convention made it illegal to leave people stateless, several countries, including Britain and France, have not ratified it.

Recent cases on the repatriation of suspected IS members have triggered prolonged legal battles. 

Britain has stripped more than 100 people of their citizenship for allegedly joining militant groups abroad, according to British government figures.

High-profile cases, such as Begum's and alleged IS recruit Jack Letts', have also sparked fierce political debate in Britain.