Police investigate reports of British student 'killed in Syria'


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The Independent Online

Police are investigating reports of the death of a British man in Syria.

Officers were searching a house linked to student Abu Layth in Didsbury, Manchester and speaking to his relatives.

Detective Chief Inspector Will Chatterton, of the north west counter-terrorism unit, said: "Officers investigating a reported death of a British citizen in Syria are today, Thursday February 13 2014, carrying out a search of a house in Manchester.

"As part of this inquiry, officers are also providing support to the family and are speaking to them to understand how a man from the North West came to be reportedly killed in Syria.

"As part of the National Prevent Strategy, officers are working to assess how people are drawn into travelling to Syria to become involved in conflict and how to prevent others doing the same.

"There is widespread concern about the situation in Syria and other conflict zones and the way that some will be driven to travel there to engage in humanitarian work or to take part in the fighting.

"We know that some have already lost their lives or been detained by the regime and badly treated.

"It is vital that anyone who has concerns that someone may be considering such travel informs the authorities.

"The best way for people to help is to donate to registered charities with ongoing humanitarian operations in Syria and the region.

"The Prevent Programme does work to ensure charities which claim to raise funds for those suffering in conflict zones are genuine.

"We need the help of the Muslim community and specialist press to ensure that the understandable desire to help is not exploited to actually exacerbate the conflict."