Families of three missing British schoolgirls feared to have gone to Syria to join ISIL terrorists have slammed the British police for failing to keep them informed after a close friend of the trio fled to Syria.
Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, boarded a flight from London Gatwick airport to Turkey on February 17. They are believed to have crossed the border into an ISIL-controlled region in Syria.
Appearing before the Home Affairs Select Committee, the relatives of the teenage girls said they would have done more to monitor them if police had let them know about a school friend of the trio who had already traveled to Syria back in December.
One the relatives of the missing girls told lawmakers that her family discovered the police letter about the fourth girl after the trio’s disappearance.
The relatives have already called on the Met Police to apologize for handing the letter to the girls, rather than to the families directly.
Police under fire
Last month, UK police announced that three missing London schoolgirls who left Britain to join the ISIL terrorists have crossed into Syria through Turkish border.
The Metropolitan Police said the officers have “reason to believe” the three teenagers from Bethnal Green Academy in east London, have joined the Takfiri terrorists in Syria.
UK police have been under fire for delay in informing the Turkish authorities about the teenagers travel.
Some reports suggest that Scotland Yard waited three days before telling the Turkish authorities that the teenagers had flown to Istanbul.
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said that the British authorities notified Ankara about the missing schoolgirls on Friday.
Turkish officials would have taken “necessary measures” had they known earlier, said Arinc, arguing that the UK would be partly responsible for the girls’ fate.
Meanwhile, the Guardian reported that a checklist has been found in the bedroom of one of the missing girls, outlining how they planned their trip.
The handwritten list details the items the girls wanted to buy as well as the costs of the trip to Syria.
The list seems to be in keeping with an ISIL online guide for potential recruits, the Guardian said.
Reports say days before the trip, at least one of the girls had contacted a young woman accused of attempting to recruit others via social media.