Missing 16-year-old twins feared to have travelled to war-torn Syria
TWIN girls reported missing 10 days ago are feared to have travelled to war-torn Syria.
The Somalia-born girls, thought to have spent a number of years in Bolton before moving to Manchester, crept out of their home on June 26 in the middle of the night catch a plane from Manchester Airport to Istanbul in Turkey.
The girls’ parents discovered they had gone at about 8am the next morning with passports and belongings also missing.
The Sun on Sunday said it understood the twins had travelled to Syria.
The paper said their brother was a fighter for the extremist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
Fears are now building about the girls’ safety and whether they have become victims of religious grooming, news reports have suggested.
Greater Manchester Police are not revealing the girls’ names or location of their home in case it jeopardises their safety.
A police spokesman said: “On Thursday June 26, Greater Manchester Police received a report that two 16-year-old girls were missing from their home in Manchester.
"The girls flew from Manchester International Airport to Turkey. 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.
"Officers are also providing regular support to the family.”
About 6.5 million people have been displaced in Syria since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.
About 500 UK Muslims are thought to have gone to fight in Syria, despite a warning by religious leaders not to travel to the war-torn country to fight.
Mohammed Shafiq, the chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said it showed the "abject failure" of the intelligence agencies that the youngsters could travel from Britain to the Middle East.
Mr Shafiq, whose Ramadhan Foundation campaigns against extremism and terrorism, said: "It is deeply worrying that two teenage girls have travelled to Syria to support terrorist groups.
"These terrorist groups are barbaric and evil and do not have any regard for human life and Islamic history.
"Joining them in Syria and Iraq is not allowed under Islam and those that join them open the risk to being charged under terrorism legislation in this country."
Greater Manchester Police boss Ch Con Peter Fahy, who leads counter-terrorism strategy for the Association of Chief Police Officers, warned young Muslims not to go to fight in Syria or they could be arrested when they return.