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Syria girls: Turkish Airlines assisting investigation

Turkish Airlines says it is assisting an investigation into three British schoolgirls who are feared to have crossed into Syria to join Islamic State.

From left to right: Kadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum at Gatwick Airport. Credit: Metropolitan Police

Amira Abase and Shamima Begum, both 15, and 16-year-old Kadiza Sultana boarded a Turkish Airlines flight from Gatwick to Istanbul on February 17 and police believe the London trio have now crossed the Turkish border into Syria.

A statement from the airline said: "Turkish Airlines is assisting the relevant government bodies in their inquiries but is unable to respond to or comment specifically in relation to the subject matter of ongoing investigations."

Earlier this week, Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said Turkish Airlines had "serious questions" to answer over why it allowed the girls unaccompanied on to a flight.

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Islamic State 'abducts 220 Assyrian Christians' in raids

Islamic State has targeted several Christian minority groups. Credit: Reuters

Islamic State militants have abducted 220 Assyrian Christians from villages in north-east Syria during a three-day offensive, a monitoring group says.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain, said the abductions took place when the group seized 10 villages lived in by the minority near the city of Hasaka.

PM: Lessons need to be learned over Syria girls

David Cameron says "lessons need to be learned" from the case of three British schoolgirls feared to have entered Syria to join Islamic State.

The three girls are believed to have crossed into Syria. Credit: Met Police

Responding to a question from the Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, where the three teenagers came from, Mr Cameron said the UK needed to "tighten arrangements" at airports and borders.

He also called on schools, parents, universities to help fight the "poisonous ideology" of extremist groups such as Islamic State.

The Prime Minister also dismissed claims by the Turkish deputy prime minister that British authorities took three days to notify Turkey of the girls' movements as "not accurate".

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  1. Juliet Bremner

Criticism over delay in public hunt for Syria-bound girls

Everybody has been at pains to say that as much as possible was done. No one wants to take responsibility.

I think if there is any criticism, it was that it was three days before it was made public. They had flown out on Tuesday, and we didn't know about it until the Friday.

Kadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum at Gatwick Airport. Credit: Metropolitan Police

Police said at the time there were several reasons for that - the families, of course, have to give their consent, and then they have to be sure that they have tried the more direct, perhaps slightly less public, ways of getting in touch.

But it meant, of course, that as we know now, they had probably gone already by the time we were all seeing their pictures.

I'm sure the families whoa are at home tonight will be utterly distraight, and they will be the first ones to ask could they, and should they, have done more.

London schoolgirls 'believed to have crossed into Syria'

Three schoolgirls feared to have travelled from London to join Islamic State are believed to have crossed into Syria, Scotland Yard has said.

Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-old Amira Abase boarded a flight from Gatwick Airport to Istanbul last Tuesday, but police say they have "reason to believe" the girls have now crossed the border into territory controlled by the extremist militants.

Scotland yard said the three girls are believed to have crossed into Syria. Credit: Met Police

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said officers were continuing to work closely with the Turkish authorities.

Anybody with information on the whereabouts of the girls is urged to call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789321.

PM: In fight against extremism, we are all in it together

Schools, parents, and communities must work together with the authorities and social media firms to tackle the problem of young people being radicalised through online propaganda, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

He made the comments in evidence to the Commons Liaison Committee after three girls went missing, feared to have fled to join Islamic State militants in Syria.

He said the problem of people looking at radicalisation material online was a "very serious problem", and added: "We are all in this together."

While he credited social media companies for taking down a great deal of extremist material, he added, they need to "do more" to help with efforts.

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