UK police arrest 4 on suspicion of Syria-linked terror offenses

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Four people are arrested by UK police on suspicion of Syria-related terror offenses

The three men and a woman are being questioned by counterterror officers in Manchester

Police say a number of people have traveled to the battlefields of Syria

London CNN  — 

UK police arrested four people Tuesday on suspicion of traveling to Syria or supporting the fighting there.

Two men, ages 29 and 18, and a 21-year-old woman were arrested in Manchester, northwest England, on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, Greater Manchester Police said.

A fourth person, a 29-year-old man, was arrested in Oxford on the same charge, a police statement said.

All four are now being questioned by counterterror officers in Manchester.

Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole, head of the counterterror unit, said there was no imminent threat to anyone in Manchester or Britain.

“The operation has been running since autumn 2013, since we first became aware of a number of individuals traveling from the northwest to the battlefields of Syria,” he said.

Mole said even those who travel to the region with the intention of providing humanitarian aid are putting themselves in danger.

“We know that some have already lost their lives or been detained by the regime and badly treated,” he said.

“There are serious concerns that anyone traveling to Syria, whether for humanitarian reasons or because of a desire to support the Syrian opposition, may be targeted by extremist groups who want to recruit them. This could have serious repercussions for the safety of the individual concerned.”

Syria’s civil war will this month have dragged on for three painful years.

More than 100,000 people have died and more than 680,000 others have been wounded, the United Nations has said. At least 6.5 million have been internally displaced and nearly 2.5 million people have fled to other countries.

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CNN’s Carol Jordan contributed to this report.