The families of three missing British schoolgirls, thought to be Syria-bound, have made emotional pleas for them to come home and not to fall into the hands of ISIL militants.
Point of view
We'll all want to learn lessons when people travel to Syria.
The father of Amira Base said that he could ‘not stop crying’ and begged for her not to go to Syria.
He added that she had never discussed an interest in jihadism with the family. Classmate Atlanta Broadbent at Bethnal Green Academy said there was nothing suspect in the girls’ behaviour.
“When I saw them a couple of weeks ago they just seemed normal, how they are everyday… They’re really religious but they never really spoke about it to us. They always had a point that they could make and no-one could argue with them because they’re really smart, but nothing like that.”
The British intelligence services have come under fire for missing signs the girls became radicalised online after popping up on their radar when one of their friends travelled to Syria in December.
Former Foreign Secretary William Hague said the responsibility lay not only with the authorities saying, “in cases like these: on families, on religious leaders and on security services as well. I’m sure we’ll all want to learn lessons from everything that’s happened in every case when people go to Syria, but I wouldn’t want to rush into any judgements about who’s responsible for what.”
Questions have also been raised that neither Turkish airlines nor the UK border force raised the alarm that the trio were travelling unaccompanied to Istanbul on a well-worn route to ISIL territory, with as many as 50 British women suspected of having made the journey.
Turkish intelligence sources quoted in British newspaper The Telegraph now believe the girls have already crossed the border to Syria.