Five Syrian men who were attempting to reach the United States have been arrested in Honduras after arriving in the country with stolen and altered Greek passports, a development that is sure to become part of the ongoing U.S. debate about the potential danger of ISIS operatives sneaking into the country. From the BBC:
The five were detained after arriving on a flight from neighbouring El Salvador on Tuesday night, police said. … According to Honduran police, they were planning to travel to the northern city of San Pedro Sula. From there, they intended to cross into Guatemala and then Mexico before reaching the US border, some 2,000km (1,200 miles) away.
The Mexican publication El Universal reports that Honduras does not believe the men are connected to ISIS or any other extremist organization, writing (in Spanish) that “the director of the Honduran National Institute of Migration said it has ‘completely ruled out’ that the detained Syrians belonged to a ‘violent group.’ ” The BBC, however, says Honduran officials have still not established the detained individuals’ true identities, which would seem to be at odds with such an unequivocal statement about their motives. (Presumably authorities know that the men are Syrian because their travel paper trail indicates as much, but this is not explicitly stated in the BBC piece.)
While most of the men identified as perpetrators of Friday’s terror attacks in Paris were French nationals, fingerprint evidence indicates that one of the Stade de France suicide bombers traveled to Paris via Greece using a fake Syrian passport; alleged attack planner Abdelhamid Abaaoud was also able to travel to Europe from Syria at some point before the attacks via methods that are as of yet unknown.