LONDON (AFP) -The families of three British schoolgirls feared to be travelling to join the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria issued emotional appeals for them to come home Saturday.
Close friends Kadiza Sultana, 17, and 15-year-olds Shamima Begum and Amira Abase left their east London homes Tuesday and flew to Istanbul.
Turkey is a key entry point for those seeking to travel to Syria. Police believe the three girls – all of whom are academic high achievers – were following the example of a friend who fled to join IS extremists in December.
Abase’s family agreed that she could be identified for the first time Saturday in the hope of securing her safe return.
“You are strong, smart, beautiful and we are hoping you will make the right decision,” they said in a statement issued by police. “Please return home.” Sultana’s family described how they were feeling “completely distressed” and that her departure had been “a complete nightmare”.