Prevent Tragedies: Police urge public to protect young people from Syria dangers
The North East Counter Terrorism Unit is supporting a national awareness campaign, aimed at protecting young people from the dangers of travelling to Syria.
Travel to Syria
What are the risks from terrorism in Syria:
There are many terrorist groups fighting in Syria. This includes ISIS and groups linked to al-Qaeda.
Terrorist groups attack opposition members as often as they attack the Assad regime. Terrorist groups target UK nationals, including kidnap. Your family may face ransom demands to secure your freedom. The long standing policy of the British Government is not to makes substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British Government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage-taking. The situation on the ground is changing all the time as groups change their structure and allegiance. If you become involved with fighting in Syria, you could be prosecuted under UK law on your return.
Police are appealing to all communities to help protect young people who may be planning to travel there. While the campaign reaches out to women in particular, police are encouraging anyone who is concerned about the safety of a loved one to come forward.
Activities to increase awareness are taking place across the whole of the UK today. To support the campaign, a leaflet has been designed which outlines the risks. This will be shared with communities who are most affected by the crisis in Syria and issued at ports across the country.
The number of people travelling to Syria from the UK is increasing and is now believed to be in the low hundreds. Due to serious safety concerns, travel to Syria for any purpose is strongly discouraged by the UK authorities. Anyone travelling there is in danger.
It is vital that people who genuinely want to help the Syrian cause know how they can do so safely and legally. The advice is to donate to registered charities which have experience of providing humanitarian assistance in high risk, insecure and dangerous environments and which have ongoing relief operations in Syria and/or neighbouring countries, such as the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) or its member charities.
The Charity Commission’s website should be used to check that a charity is registered and to ensure that donations will be used properly -