Families' Public Pleas to British Schoolgirls Feared Headed to Syria: 'Come Home'

Three girls believed to be heading to Syria to join Islamist fighters.

"You had [a] bright future, so please return home," read a statement from the family and friends of Amira Abase, 15, released via the London Metropolitan Police. Authorities previously had not released Abase's name.

"Please come home Amira, everyone is missing you. You are strong, smart, beautiful and we are hoping you will make the right decision," the statement added. "We miss you more tha[n] you can imagine. We are worried and we want you to think about what you have left behind."

Added the family of Shamima Begum, 15, in its statement: "We miss you terribly and are extremely worried about you. Please, if you hear this message, get in touch and let us know you are safe. We want you home with us. You belong at home with us.

"Syria is a dangerous place and we don't want you to go there," the statement continued. "Get in touch with the police and they will help to bring you home. You are not in any trouble."

The family of 16-year-old Kadiza Sultana also issued a statement, asking that she return "safe and sound."

"In your absence, we, as a family, are feeling completely distressed and cannot make sense of why you left home," the statement read. "Things have not been the same without you."

Britain’s Counter-Terrorism Commander Richard Walton said they were reaching out to Abase, Begum and Sultana using Turkish and social media. Should the girls see news reports about themselves, Walton said he hopes they’ll listen to such a “direct appeal.”

“Clearly if these three girls travel to Syria, they’re in grave danger,” he said. “We are aware as many people of the treatment of girls and women currently in that part of Syria. You know the prospect is not good and we want to prevent them from getting there.”

“Fighters include people not only picking up a gun, but also going to support Islamists, in some way, including young women who have been attracted to the fight for various reasons and in some cases children,” he said, adding the prospect of fighters returning to their home countries to conduct attacks is of “great concern.”

Krajeski also acknowledged the difficulty of controlling the Turkish-Syrian border.

“This is a very difficult border to police,” he said. “The most effective way to do it is to provide border officials with the best possible information. I believe Turks are committed to increasing checks and controls of incoming travelers and border controls.”