Four Australian women were arrested while trying to board a plane in Syria after a dismantled handgun was allegedly found inside a toy the women were carrying, officials and media reports said Thursday.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said the four Australian women, who were not immediately identified, were with two Iraqi women and a child when they were detained at Damascus airport on Tuesday.
All six women and the child were of Iraqi origin, the department in a statement.
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. quoted an unidentified Syrian police source as saying the women were arrested after security officers found a dismantled handgun inside a toy the child was carrying.
The women were trying to board a Gulf Air flight bound for Australia via Bahrain.
"I understand that the pieces of weapon were in hand luggage, but there were bullets in the (aircraft's baggage) hold," Gulf Air spokesman David Baker said.