Families retrace Syria girls’ steps


Published: Monday 23rd March 2015 by The News Editor

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The families of three London schoolgirls believed to be in Syria have travelled to Turkey and retraced the trio’s steps.

School friends Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, left east London and went to Turkey last month before crossing into an Islamic State-controlled area of Syria.

They are pupils at Bethnal Green Academy and are feared to have reached the conflict zone to become so-called ”jihadi brides” with IS.

The place their families went first was the Istanbul coach station where the teenagers waited for their bus to the Syrian border.

There they spoke to a man who unknowingly let the girls in. He said they were “smiling as they arrived” and “smiling as they left”, according to ITV News.

Renu Begum, sister of Shamima, told ITV News: “This is our next step basically to get the message out to them that we’ve followed them all the way out here. We want them to know that we love them.”

Halima Khanom, sister of Kadiza, said: “I don’t really recognise my sister, the video and the CCTV that we saw. Because this is just not her and we just want to understand her, you know, to find some answers and get some help.”

Abase Hussein, father of Amira, said: “I don’t know how to explain. I can’t describe my feelings. I feel like my girl is next to me when I find someone that’s on their last journey who saw them. I feel like my daughter is next to me – that’s the feelings I have.”

The families left through the same door the girls did during their long wait at the bus station, and f amily lawyer Tasnime Akunjee told ITV News: “Of course they feel responsible for their own children, that goes without saying.

“But the fact is these girls were school children and much of what took place clearly took place at school. Police put a cap on information that they and the school were giving back to the parents.”

Published: Monday 23rd March 2015 by The News Editor

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