Counter-terrorism police are still working to locate two teenage twin sisters who fled their Manchester home in the middle of the night to join the fighting in Syria.
The two 16-year-olds, of Somali origin, flew from Manchester Airport to Turkey on June 26 and are believed to have followed their elder brother, a fighter for the extremist militant group Isis, to the war-torn country.
Counter-terrorism police are continuing to search for the girls’ whereabouts and establish their reasons for travelling after they contacted relatives to confirm they were in Syria.
The girls sneaked out of their bedrooms in the middle of the night while their parents slept and managed to board the plane to Turkey.
In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said: “Since their departure the girls have been in contact with their family.
“We are attempting to confirm their current location and secure the well-being of both girls.”
The twins’ parents discovered that they were missing when they went to wake them to attend their Manchester sixth-form college.
Concerns have been raised that the trip was funded by terrorist recruiters.
As many as 1,500 Britons have headed to the conflict and some 6.5million people have been displaced since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.
Senior figures among Islamic quarters as well as in government have suggested the UK could be under a national security threat from attack from returning fighters brainwashed by jihadist messages.
In an open letter to British Muslims last week, 100 UK imams urged ‘the generous and tireless efforts to support all of those affected by the crisis in Syria and unfolding events in Iraq’ to continue, but from a distance and in ‘a safe and responsible way’.
Prime Minister David Cameron echoed these calls amid fears that fighters could return to the UK and wage war on British streets.
Cameron told MPs last month: “I disagree with those people who think this is nothing to do with us and if they want to have some sort of extreme Islamist regime in the middle of Iraq it won’t affect us. It will.
“The people in that regime, as well as trying to take territory, are also planning to attack us here at home in the United Kingdom.
“So the right answer is to be long-term, hard-headed, patient and intelligent with the interventions that we make.
“And the most important intervention of all is to make sure that these governments are fully representative of the people who live in their countries, that they close down the ungoverned space and they remove the support for the extremists.”
Image courtesy of Nasrum Min Allah via YouTube, with thanks.