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Turkey says spy suspected of helping British school girls is Syrian

Turkey’s foreign minister has said that three British girls who crossed into Syria to join the "IS" group were helped by a Syrian working as a spy for a different country, from within the US-led coalition.

Three British girls who crossed into Syria to join the Islamic State group were helped by a Syrian working as a spy for a country in the

US-led coalition,

Turkey's foreign minister said on Friday.

"The man is a Syrian citizen," Mevlut Cavusoglu said in televised comments in Ankara, without specifying further.

Turkish media spreading videos on the alleged spy

The A-Haber television channel broadcast footage of the alleged spy, bearded and wearing glasses. More A-Haber footage, posted by the website of the Sabah daily, showed the man meeting the three girls at what appears to be a bus station in southern Turkey and then putting them into a car to go to Syria.

Sabah said the agent shot the footage himself. However, it is not clear how the images had been obtained.

The three girls are close friends. Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-olds Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, crossed into Syria after boarding a flight from London to Istanbul on February 17. The girl's families have appealed to them to return.

The Milliyet daily reported on Friday that the individual was working for Canadian intelligence, but Ottawa has already denied this. The man who is identified as Muhammed Al Rashad by Turkey's Dogan news agency, has been held in solitary confinement since being caught.

Turkey using the situation to disprove Western criticism

Turkey appears to be using the revelation to disprove Western criticism that it is not doing enough against the flow of extremists across its borders.

Ankara accused Britain last month of a "reprehensible" delay in informing the Turkish authorities about the departure of the three girls for its territory.

Along with

the US and EU states

, Gulf nations including Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been involved in

the coalition against IS

, as well as Australia and Canada.

ra/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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