ISTANBUL (Sputnik) — A Russian student, who went missing last week and is believed to have been recruited by the Islamic State jihadist group, was detained in Turkey while attempting to cross into Syria, her father said Friday.
“Yesterday Varvara was detained by Turkish authorities in the city of Kilis…," Pavel Karaulov told RIA Novosti.
He added that Russian consulate staff had informed him that the girl would be deported to Istanbul on Friday or Saturday.
"Varvara Karaulova was detained as part of a group of people trying to enter Syria and join one of extremist groups. There were other foreigners in the group," a source in Turkish police told RIA Novosti.
The Russian Interior Ministry said that if Karaulova was indeed going to join an illegal armed group, a criminal case could be launched against her.
The lawyer for the family told RIA Novosti that the girl is not a criminal but a victim of recruiters.
Karaulova, 19, went missing on May 27 after she flew to Istanbul instead of going to university. The girl was studying Arabic and Islam. The family lawyer said the student had been recruited by the Islamic State.
At least 20,000 foreign fighters have joined the Islamic State so far, according to US National Counterterrorism Center estimates.
Earlier, media reports emerged about European girls travelling to Syria across the Turkish border to join radical groups.