Zahra and Salma Halane: Missing twins 'now in Syria'

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Police searching for missing twin teenage girls from Manchester believe the pair are now in Syria.

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

The North West Counter Terrorism Unit is now investigating the reason for travel and whether they were assisted.

Det Ch Supt Tony Mole said the welfare of the girls "is our overarching priority".

'Very religious'

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."

Neighbours near their home in Chorlton described the twins as "nice girls" from a "very religious" family.

Some 6.5m 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.

However, more than 100 imams in the UK have appealed to British Muslims not to travel to Syria and Iraq.

In an open letter they said they had come together as a unified voice, to urge people not to fall prey to sectarian divisions or social discord.

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