Missing twin teenage sisters `now in Syria`

Two teenage twin girls, reported missing for two weeks, are believed to have joined jihadist fighters in strife-torn Syria, British police said on wednesday.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 09, 2014, 20:45 PM IST

London: Two teenage twin girls, reported missing for two weeks, are believed to have joined jihadist fighters in strife-torn Syria, British police said on wednesday.

Zahra and Salma Halane, 16, were reported missing on June 26 and are believed to have first flown to Turkey from Manchester Airport.

They sneaked out of their home in Chorlton, Manchester during the night while their family slept.

The college students then boarded a flight to Turkey before crossing into Syria where they are feared to have joined their brother, believed to be fighting with Isis.

The sisters, thought to be of Somali origin, called their family from Syria to inform them they were safe and well but had "no intention" of coming home to Britain, The Telegraph reported.

They are thought to have flown out to the war-torn state in response to the call to British Muslims to join 1,500 young British men already in Syria preparing to wage jihad, it said.

The North West Counter Terrorism Unit is now probing the reason for travel and whether they were assisted, the BBC reported.

Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole said the welfare of the girls "is our overarching priority".

He said: "At this stage we don`t know for sure why they are there or exactly who they are with.

"They are clearly posing a threat to themselves and potentially the community and their family and friends are concerned for their well-being."

Their neighbours described the twins as "nice girls" from a "very religious" family.

Some 6.5 million people have been displaced in Syria since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.

About 500 UK Muslims are thought to have gone to fight in Syria.