November 16, 2005

Australian women detained in Syria: media

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Four Australian women have been
detained in Syria after a dismantled hand gun was found inside
a child's toy as they tried to board a plane in Damascus,
Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) radio reported on Thursday.

Quoting a Syrian police source and diplomatic source, the
ABC reported that the women of Iraqi origin were traveling to
Australia via a stopover in the Persian Gulf and were
accompanied by a young child.

"The authorities in Syria now, according to our sources,
are concerned that they may have foiled a hijacking and they
are looking into it to try and see what was behind it," ABC
Middle East correspondent Matt Brown told ABC radio.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs said it was still
trying to confirm the report so consular assistance could be
provided to the group.