Nine British medics are reported to have travelled from Sudan to Syria to work in hospitals in areas controlled by Islamic State.
The four men and five women crossed into Syria last week without warning their parents, according to The Observer. One of the women informed her family of the trip via Whatsapp, it is claimed.
The students had been studying in Sudan because their parents wanted them to experience a more Islamic culture, but they were born and raised in Britain.
Turkish politician Mehmet Ali Ediboglu, who is assisting the families, told the newspaper the students had travelled to Syria to “help, not to fight”.
One of the girls, Lena Maumoon Abdulqadir, is said to have told her relatives: “Don’t worry about us, we’ve reached Turkey and are on our way to volunteer helping wounded Syrian people.”
But some of the students’ families are concerned the group may have gone to help by working as doctors for a militant group, possibly IS.
“She was living in [Africa] a land which needs a lot of doctors everywhere. Why would she go all the way to Syria for volunteering?” Lena’s fatherMaumoon Abdulqadir told Turkey’sBirg?ewspaper.
“These kids were born and raised in England, but they were sent to Sudan to study at medical school,” MrEdiboglu told The Observer.
“I’ve asked the families why they sent their children to study there, and as I understood it, they wanted them to experience a more Islamic culture and not to forget their roots.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are providing consular assistance to the families. We have informed the Turkish police to try and ascertain their whereabouts.
“The best way for the public to help is to donate to or otherwise support UK-registered charities with ongoing relief operations.”
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The UK advises against all travel to Syria and parts of Iraq.
“Anyone who does travel to these areas, even for humanitarian reasons, is putting themselves in considerable danger.”
It comes as British authorities continue efforts to trace three missing schoolgirls from east London who left Britain to join Islamic State.
Earlier, IS militants posted online what they say are the names, addresses and photos of 100 American military service members, and called upon its “brothers residing in America” to kill them.
The Pentagon said after the information was published on the internetit was investigating the matter.
“I can’t confirm the validity of the information, but we are looking into it,” a USdefence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.