Missing teenage sisters are 'now in Syria', police say

The girls, said to be deeply religious, have ignored the largely Somalian family’s pleas for them to return home

Crime Correspondent

Two 16 year-old twin girls who have travelled to Syria to join the jihad have told their families they have no intention of returning home.

The family of teenagers Salma and Zahra Halane found their beds empty last month. Police now believe that they flew to Turkey then crossed the border into Syria.

The girls, said to be deeply religious, have ignored the largely Somalian family’s pleas for them to return home and are believed to have joined an older brother who joined the extremist militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis).

The teenagers have spoken with members of the family two or three times since they arrived in Syria by telephone, said Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Lancashire-based Ramadhan Foundation who has been in contact with the family.

“They said that they were there to support the Syrian people and they wouldn’t be coming back,” he said.

Analysis of terrorist related prosecutions between 1999 and 2010 by the Henry Jackson Society showed that only four percent of those were committed by women, and mostly for supporting men. The most serious attack by a woman in Britain was Roshonara Choudhury who stabbed the Labour MP Stephen Timms because he voted for war in Iraq. She was later jailed for life for attempted murder.

“It didn’t surprise me that women were going,” said one of the report’s authors Hannah Stuart. “I imagine that they (the authorities) are looking more closely at men travelling to Turkey than women.”

Scotland Yard said in April that the number of Britons travelling to Syria numbered in the “mid-hundreds” although the number of women travelling there was not known.

Police are now investigating what help they were given to travel to Syria. “I want to stress that the welfare of these two teenagers is our overarching priority,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole, said: "At this stage we don't know for sure why they are there, or exactly who they are with.

"They are clearly posing a threat to themselves and potentially the community and their family and friends are concerned for their well-being.”

The Sun newspaper reported that Salma and Zahra had achieved 28 GCSEs between them and published a photograph of one of them at an information day at Connell Sixth Form College in Manchester.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before