Counter terrorism police have confirmed 16-year-old twin sisters, who disappeared from their home in Manchester two weeks ago, are now in Syria.
Greater Manchester Police are investigating the girls reasons for travelling and also if anyone helped them.
Two 16-year-old girls who are believed to have entered war-torn Syria are "posing a threat to themselves", a counter-terrorism chief has said.
Twins Salma and Zahra Halane, who have 28 GCSEs between them, disappeared from their family home in Manchester last month when they flew out to Turkey and are now said to have crossed the border.
The North West Counter Terrorism Unit (NWCTU) is investigating their travel and whether they had help.
I want to stress that the welfare of these two teenagers is our overarching priority.
"Two 16-year-old girls left the UK on 26 June 2014 and we believe that they have since entered Syria.
"Since this story broke in the media at the weekend there has been a lot of speculation about why the girls left the country.
"At this stage we don't know for sure why they are there or exactly who they are with.
"As this is now developing into an investigation, the North West Counter Terrorism Unit is leading on this inquiry.
– Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole, Head of the NWCTU
This investigation now has two main strands; to safeguard the girls wherever possible and to assess any further lines of enquiry as the investigation progresses.
"They are clearly posing a threat to themselves and potentially the community and their family and friends are concerned for their well-being."
Police are providing support to the girls' family, who also do not wish to comment.
Anybody with information should call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.
Muslim leaders in Manchester have expressed concerns about two 16-year-old twin sisters who are feared to have travelled to Syria.
Ashley Derricott reports:
The disappearance of twin 16-year-old girls reported to have fled their homes to go to war-torn Syria is "deeply worrying", a leading Muslim commentator said today.
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, also said it showed the "abject failure" of the intelligence agencies, that the youngsters could travel from Britain to the Middle East.
Police have confirmed they are trying to trace the girls, both aged 16 and from a Somalian family, who were reported missing from their home in Manchester on June 26.
Their parents reportedly only found out they were missing after finding their empty beds.
– Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation
It is deeply worrying that two teenage girls have travelled to Syria to support terrorist groups.
"These terrorist groups are barbaric and evil and do not have any regard for human life and Islamic history.
"Joining them in Syria and Iraq is not allowed under Islam and those that join them open the risk to being charged under terrorism legislation in this country.
"There has been an abject failure of intelligence agencies, how can two 16-year-old girls travel unaccompanied from Manchester Airport and arrive in Istanbul without any questions being asked."
Greater Manchester Police said it's unable to confirm the location of the girls and their investigation aims to establish their safety and find out why they've travelled abroad.
– Greater Manchester Police
On Thursday 26 June 2014, Greater Manchester Police received a report that two 16-year-old girls were missing from their home in Manchester.
"The girls flew from Manchester International Airport to Turkey. Since their departure the girls have been in contact with their family.
"We are attempting to confirm their current location and secure the well being of both girls.
"Officers are also providing regular support to the family."
Teenage twin sisters from Manchester have left their home and secretly flown to Syria, it was reported today.
The Sun Newspaper said it is feared the Muslim schoolgirls, aged 16, have joined other Britons who are involved in the sectarian violence there.
The girls — thought to be originally from Somalia — are said to be “extremely religious” Muslims.
The Sun on Sunday reported they travelled to Syria via Turkey following in the footsteps of an elder brother.
It's understood Greater Manchester Police are investigating the girls' disappearance.