Dewsbury teens flee to Syria
Families in ‘shock’ over disappearance of ‘ordinary Yorkshire lads’
A brother of the UK’s youngest convicted terrorist is believed to have travelled to Syria to join Islamic State fighters.
Hassan Munshi – younger brother of Hammaad Munshi, disappeared from his family home on Thursday 31st March alongside friend Talha Asmal.
The pair are believed to have boarded a Thomas Cook flight at Manchester Airport later that day to Dalaman in Turkey before crossing the border into Syria.
Hamaad was arrested by counter-terrorism police in 2006 as a 15-year-old and later convicted for his role in a plot to kill non-Muslims.
The disappearance of his brother came as a ‘shock’ to his family with both missing boys described as ‘two ordinary Yorkshire lads’.
A statement released on behalf of the two families said: “Both families are devastated by the events of the last few days and in particular, we are extremely concerned about the safety and well-being of our loved ones.
“Our number one priority is to get Hassan and Talha back home with their families and we implore anyone who may have any information whatsoever to get in contact with the police.
“Naturally, we are in a state of profound shock and are trying to come to terms with the predicament we find ourselves in and we hope and pray that no other family finds itself in our situation.
“These were just two ordinary Yorkshire lads who enjoyed the things that all young people enjoy at their age - both Hassan and Talha had a promising future as an apprentice and an A-level student respectively, and we are praying they will be back with us soon and are able to realise that future.
“We would implore all parents to be extra vigilant, although as we found, it's near impossible to know your children have been groomed and brainwashed.
“Syria is a frightening war-torn place and we need to urgently educate our young children about the dangers posed by those who prey on impressionable teenagers.”
To date, the Metropolitan Police estimate that around 600 Brits have travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State with up to half of those now returning home to the UK.
Since the Dewsbury teens’ disappearance last week, West Yorkshire Police have been supporting the families whilst carrying out extensive enquiries alongside the North East Counter Terrorism Unit.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “We are extremely concerned for the safety of these two boys and would urge anyone with information to come forward and speak to us.
“Our priority is for their safe return; their families are gravely worried about them and want them home.
“Anyone with any information about should call the police immediately on 101 or the confidential Anti Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.”