ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish authorities have detained 16 Indonesians from three families who were trying to cross into Syria, a Turkish foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday, a route frequently used by sympathizers of Islamic State militants.
"These 16 people -- three families -- are currently being held at a holding center ... and we have information that Indonesia's Ankara embassy is in touch with the group," spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement.
The Indonesian embassy in Ankara had made no formal requests of the Turkish foreign ministry regarding the group, according to the statement, which gave no details on the reasons for their detention.
Thousands of foreigners from more than 80 nations including Britain, other parts of Europe, China and the United States have joined the ranks of Islamic State and other radical groups in Syria and Iraq, many crossing through Turkey.
Turkey has said it needs more information from foreign intelligence agencies to intercept them, pointing to cases such as the three London schoolgirls who fled Britain to join Islamic State last month.
(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Andrew Heavens)