Volunteer: Lena Abdulqadir has gone to Syria to work in ISIS controlled hospitals
Nine British medical students have travelled to Syria to work in hospitals in Islamic State-held areas, it emerged last night.
Four women and five men entered the country last week, keeping their plans secret from relatives until shortly before they crossed the border.
Turkish politician Mehmet Al Ediboglu told The Observer: ‘We all assume they are in Tel Abyad now, which is under Isis control.
‘The conflict out there is fierce, so medical help must be needed.’
Mr Ediboglu, who has met the students’ families, said they felt the young Britons had been ‘cheated [and] brainwashed’.
The group, in their late teens and early 20s, are all Britons of Sudanese descent studying at a medical school in Khartoum.
Mr Ediboglu added: ‘These kids were born and raised in England, but they were sent to Sudan to study at medical school.’
The nine flew to Istanbul on March 12, he said, and took a bus to the Syrian border the next day.
The families were alerted only when one of the students, Lena Maumoon Abdulqadir, 19, sent a text to her sister saying she wanted to ‘volunteer to help wounded Syrian people’.
The Home Office is reported to have said the group would not automatically face prosecution if they returned to the UK, as long as they could prove they had not been fighting for IS.
The Foreign Office said: ‘We are providing consular assistance to the families and have informed the Turkish police, to try to ascertain their whereabouts.’
It comes after five teenage girls who took an interest in Syria were banned from travelling abroad amid fears more British youngsters are planning to join the terror organisation.
The girls, two of whom are 15 and three 16, had their passports removed by a High Court judge after concerns over their alleged plans were raised by a local authority.
The adults responsible for them were also stripped of their passports. The previous day a 16-year-old boy from Brighton was also banned from travelling abroad following the deaths of his older brothers, both killed in Syria.
Earlier three teenage boys were thrown out of the country after being picked up in Istanbul as they tried to cross the border.
Kadiza Sultana, 16, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum, both 15, fled their north London homes in February and were seen on CCTV in Turkey shortly afterwards
Their British parents phoned police after the boys, aged 17 and 19, went missing. Their arrival back in the UK came as footage of three north London schoolgirls who had earlier left the country to join frontline militants emerged.
In February Kadiza Sultana, 16, Shamima Begum, 15, and Amira Abase, 15, all fled to Syria.
The girls were captured on CCTV in the UK and in Turkey where they are thought to have been ushered over the border by an ISIS ‘fixer’ who provided them with false documents.
Sharmeena Begum, who went to the same school as the girls in Bethnal Green, travelled to the region before them.