Honduran authorities have said they have intercepted six Syrian nationals traveling on Greek passports. Five of those detained were stopped in the capital, Tegucigalpa, and were reportedly trying to reach the US.
Police said on Wednesday that all six Syrians had been stopped within the last week. On their arrival from Costa Rica, five of the six Syrians had been planning to head to the border with neighboring Guatemala. The passports they were traveling with had been doctored and the photos replaced.
Honduran newspaper La Prensa said the five men detained were aged 23 to 33.
"We received information from [fellow] police services that these five Syrians left Greece and passed through Turkey, Brazil, Argentina and San Jose in Costa Rica before finally reaching Tegucigalpa," said Honduras police spokesman Anibal Baca, adding that they were "normal Syrians."
Police said there were no signs of any links to the "Islamic State" (IS) terror attacks in Paris last Friday.
'No word of Greek'
Television footage showed the men dressed in casual clothing and grinning as police officers escorted them at the airport.
"Greek diplomats arrived in the terminal area and confirmed the men didn't speak a word of Greek," the paper said.
A sixth man was also turned away by Honduras authorities on Friday after arriving by plane from El Salvador.
In a similar incident on Sunday, police in Paraguay also detained a Syrian man who was traveling on a stolen Greek passport.
Fears over Europe migrant rumors
Reports that at least one of last Friday's Paris attackers may have entered Europe among migrants registered in Greece have sparked concerns in several Western countries in recent days.
James Risch, a Republican senator from the US state of Idaho, described the circumstances in which the five Syrians were found as "very, very suspicious."
"So far they have not used the southern path to enter our very porous southern border. They haven't done that in the past. This was clearly an attempt to do this by five Syrians, and what they had in mind after they got here, that remains to be seen," Risch said.
In the US on Thursday, the House of Representatives was due to vote on a resolution aiming to block the president's plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming year.
The White House said on Wednesday, however, that US PresidentBarack Obama would veto
the Republican bill if necessary.
ksb/msh (Reuters, dpa)