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Luton appeal to stop young men going to fight in Syria

An unprecedented appeal has been launched in Luton trying to stop youngsters travelling to Syria to fight in the conflict there.

Bedfordshire Police, Luton Borough Council and community leaders have all joined forces after a number of British men were killed in the fighting.

The appeal is particularly calling on muslim women who are worried about relatives going to Syria to come forward.

Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Lauren Hall

  1. National

UK police chiefs release Syrian travel warning

The Association of Police Chiefs has released a document giving information and advice on travel to Syria. This comes on the day a national campaign is launched to stop would-be British terrorists visiting Syria.

The MET police document outlined terrorism risks, what could happen to you if you visited Syria, what the UK government is doing to help Syrians and how you help the Syrian people.

Some of the points outlined in the document are as follows:

  • Families may face ransom demands.
  • Assad uses the presence of UK nationals in Syria to support claims that his regime is fighting foreign terrorists.
  • If you travel for humanitarian reasons, you are very likely to come into contact with terrorist groups and you may get drawn into their activities.

Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing Helen Ball will be hosting a live webchat on the MET website at 2pm.

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Terrorism suspects arrested in Essex

Two people have been arrested in Essex in connection with suspected terrorism in Syria.

Police say they arrested a 37-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman on Wednesday, on suspicion of "being involved in the commission, preparation and instigation" of terrorism. They have been taken to a police station in London for questioning.

Officers made the arrests as part of a series of searches at various UK locations. Scotland Yard said: "The searches are ongoing and we are unable to provide more details at this stage.

Anglia region MPs help defeat Government over Syria

The Government were defeated over Syria by 285 votes to 272 Credit: PA

Five Conservative MPs from the Anglia region voted against the Government and helped Labour defeat a motion on Syria. It has battered the UK's foreign policy and some commentators say that the vote has undermined David Cameron's authority.

One Liberal Democrat from East Anglia, the Cambridge MP Julian Huppert, also voted against the coalition motion.

The Conservatives from the Anglia region who voted against were:

David Amess (Southend West)

Richard Bacon (South Norfolk)

John Baron (Basildon & Billericay)

Philip Hollobone (Kettering)

Stephen McPartland (Stevenage)

A further nine Tories from the Anglia region either abstained or were absent for the vote. They were:

Henry Bellingham (North West Norfolk), Nadine Dorries (Mid Bedfordshire), Alan Duncan (Rutland & Melton), Sir Alan Haselhurst (Saffron Walden), Anne Main (St Albans), Sir Jim Paice (South East Cambs), Priti Patel (Witham), David Ruffley (Bury St Edmunds) and Tim Yeo (South Suffolk).

The region's three Labour MPs voted with their party against the Government.

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Ex-British Army chief: Vote 'victory for common sense'

General Lord Dannatt described the Commons vote on Syria as a "victory for common sense".

The former head of the British Army told the BBC the "drumbeat for war" had dwindled among the British public in recent days.

Former head of the British Army General Lord Dannatt. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Archive/Press Association Images

He said: "What has happened today has been a victory for common sense and for democracy, and the will of the people has been expressed through the House of Commons that we don't want to get involved in this - that's the right answer at this precise moment.

"President Obama may well take note of what's happened in Westminster tonight and think again.

"I certainly hopes he thinks again because I'm absolutely convinced the use of explosive ordinance into Damascus at the present moment will make the situation in that very difficult Syrian civil war worse, not better."

Clacton MP: 'Democracy works. Mucky, messy, infuriating'

The Conservative MP for Clacton, Douglas Carswell, voted in favour of the government motion on Syria which was defeated by the House of Commons by 285 votes to 272.

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Syrian professor welcomes UK aid move

Britain announced today it will expand its support to the Syrian political opposition fighting President Bashar Assad with an extra £5m.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain would help protect civilians from some of the worst of the violence.

The news has been welcomed by a Syrian professor who lives in Cambridgeshire. Stuart Leithes reports.