Jihadists (illustration)
Jihadists (illustration) Thinkstock

Turkey has arrested nine British nationals on the Syrian border as they sought to illegally cross over from Turkey, the army said on Wednesday.

"Nine people of British nationality were arrested on the border trying to enter Syria from Turkey," the army said in a statement on its website quoted by AFP, adding that the arrests took place in the Hatay region of southern Turkey.

The army gave no further details on the identities and intentions of those arrested.

Turkey has in the last few months been repeatedly criticized by its Western allies for not doing enough to halt the flow across Turkish territory of European nationals seeking to join ISIS jihadists in Syria.

However, it has made a number of arrests in recent months and insists it is doing all it can to control the border.

Several weeks ago, a British woman was detained by Turkish police on suspicion of seeking to join Islamic State terrorists in Syria, and was later deported back to Britain.

Previously, three British teenager boys suspected of trying to travel to Syria were detained by Turkey and later deported to Britain.

Ankara was sharply criticized over its failure to stop three British teenage girls who crossed the Turkey-Syria border to join ISIS in February.

The three teens, Shamima Begum, 15, Amira Abase, also 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, are now feared to have reached the conflict zone and are believed to be staying at a house in the city of Raqqa, a stronghold of ISIS.

In response to the accusations by its Western allies, Turkey accused Britain of failing to provide information about the girls sooner.