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Missing teen girls in Syria: UK police

Three teenage girls from London feared to have run off to join the Islamic State (IS) group are believed to have crossed from Turkey into Syria, British police say.


Close friends Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-olds Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, boarded a flight from London Gatwick to Istanbul on February 17. Their families launched a public appeal for them to return home.

London’s Scotland Yard said counter-terrorism detectives leading the search for the teenagers “now have reason to believe that they are no longer in Turkey and have crossed into Syria”.

In a statement it added: “Officers continue to work closely with the Turkish authorities on this investigation.”

Citing unnamed sources inside Syria, the BBC reported that the girls had been smuggled into Syria from Turkey four or five days ago near the Kilis border crossing.

Turkey, which has been accused by its Western allies of failing to do enough to stop jihadists crossing into Syria from its territory, had earlier accused Britain of failing to provide information about the girls sooner.

“It is a reprehensible act for Britain, a country famous for its Scotland Yard, to let the three girls … leave Heathrow airport (sic) for Istanbul and then let us know three days later,” Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bulent Arinc told Turkish reporters.

“Turkey cannot be held responsible for what happened.”

Scotland Yard said it had informed the Turkish embassy in London the day after the girls disappeared and said the Turkish authorities had since provided “great assistance”.

An estimated 550 Western women have travelled to join the militants in Iraq and Syria.


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