1. ITV Report

Missing Bristol schoolgirl has contacted friends but won't say if she's in Syria

Yusra Hussien has been missing for two weeks Photo: Family photo

The family of missing Bristol schoolgirl Yusra Hussien have revealed she has been in touch with friends on Facebook - but said she has 'moved on' and is 'safe and happy'.

The 15 year old vanished two weeks ago and is believed to have boarded a flight to Turkey in a bid to reach Syria with a 17 year old girl from London.

Yusra's aunt, Sucdi Ali, says: "We've just heard she's made a contact with her friends on Facebook, but we haven't had any contact yet from her personally. Her friends have claimed she has been in contact in the past couple of days through Facebook."

"She's said 'I've moved on, I'm living a happy life, I can't share with you where I am or what I'm doing but just to let you know that I'm safe and I'm happy'.

"Her friends did ask 'Are you in Syria?' and she said 'I can't disclose that information'.

"It's heartbreaking for me because I'm Yusra's aunty, because I'm her best friend."

She added: "You know when a child dies you can move on and say 'OK, they're dead, I've buried them, I know where they are'.

"But to hear she might be in Syria, she might be with ISIS or whatever group is there, that shows you are out of control and there's nothing you can do and you have to let go of your child not knowing if you will ever see them again, never knowing if she's dead or alive."

Yusra's aunt also revealed she fled the country after telling them she was going on a school trip.

She said: "The day she left she said she had a school trip the night before.

"She said 'Mum I'm going to bed early...I've got a school trip and I'm going to leave early'.

"'Tell Dad not to pick me up because I'm going to come back late and don't make a packed lunch for me, the trip is going to provide lunch'.

"Then she went to sleep. She didn't leave a note. No explanation, no nothing."

When asked if her family feared they might never see her again, she answered: "We are prepared for that worst case scenario."

Yusra vanished last month after leaving her home in Easton, Bristol, and failed to attend school at nearby City Academy.

She also blamed 'internet grooming' for the teenager's disappearance and said she had been 'brainwashed or radicalised'.

"Whatever happened, this is not Yusra," she said. "Something went wrong, and we want to know what happened.

"Of course, of course I think the internet has done this."

"It can happen to anyone. We have to be scared, these people are powerful and they can brainwash children to leave their comfortable home. They are powerful. The damage they do to people they don't care."

In a direct appeal to Yusra, Miss Ali said the family wanted her to know she had done 'nothing wrong' and urged other youngsters not to copy her niece.

"To every girl or every young boy, or whoever is thinking of going to Syria, I don't know what the purpose they are doing it for, this is incorrect," she said.

"The pain and the heartache they caused their family, they might not know, is heartbreaking. There is no word to describe how they feel and no family should go through what we are going through. It's not fair, it's completely not fair."

"This is not the name of Islam, this is not the way of our religion, not the way of our culture, this is no way of any other religion.

"And to parents, have control of your kid's laptop, have a control of their iPhone, whatever phones they have, their smart phones because at the end of the day we have given these kids smartphones, iPhones and we don't know what they are up to."

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