An ISIS flag in Kobane
Representational Image.Reuters

Women and children were among a group of Indonesian citizens held in Turkey on suspicion that they were attempting to cross into Syria, apparently to join the Islamic State. 

Indonesian authorities confirmed that at least 16 of its citizens were arrested in Turkey this week, while 16 others who had separated from a tour group are yet to be located. 

"Turkish security authorities nabbed 16 of our citizens while they were attempting to cross over into Syria, according to a Turkish ministry spokesman," Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said, according to Indonesian news agency ANTARA

Those arrested included 4 women and 11 children who wanted to join ISIS to live under a 'better' Sharia law, AFP reported. 

"We are still investigating... but it is clear that they wanted to join (ISIS) to have a better life in accordance with Islamic sharia laws," Security Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno was quoted as saying by AFP. 

Indonesian police chief Badrodin Haiti had said on Thursday that the 16 people who broke away from a tour group were also suspected of trying to join ISIS, according to Reuters. 

Indonesia, which is already fighting internal militancy, is now at the threat of seeing several of its citizens joining the Islamic State and then returning to launch terror strikes. 

At least 127 Indonesians are confirmed to be fighting with the terror group in the Middle East, while about 500 are feared to have joined the group, despite the ban on ISIS.

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