CCTV shows UK girls on their way to Syria

New CCTV pictures appear to show three UK schoolgirls on the Turkish leg of what is believed to have been their journey to join Islamic State in Syria.

Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, both 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, flew from London to Istanbul on February 17.

The images show them waiting at Bayrampasa bus station later that day.

Scotland Yard believes the Bethnal Green Academy students are now in Syria. They are thought to have been met at the border by IS militants.

The BBC understands the girls waited in the offices of two bus companies at the station before taking a bus to Urfa, close to the Syrian border, on February 18.

From there, they are thought to have been driven to a border crossing point by people smugglers.

Time codes on the CCTV images suggest the girls were at the bus station – which is on the European side of Istanbul – for nearly 18 hours.

The five images were taken between 20:27 local time (18:27 GMT) on February 17 and 13:22 (11:22 GMT) on February 18.

BBC correspondent James Reynolds in Gaziantep, south-east Turkey, has been told by a man claiming to be a people smuggler that the girls were driven to the Syrian border.

The man, who called himself Ali Kathem, said the teenagers then walked the few steps into Syria.

A group of waiting IS men “immediately picked them up with cars”, he said.

They had flown from London’s Gatwick Airport to Turkey after telling their parents they were going out for the day.

The girls’ families have made a number of emotional appeals for them to return home.

Police have revealed about 60 women and girls are now thought to have travelled from the UK to Syria – including about 22 in the last year.

–BBC

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