London — The families of three missing British schoolgirls believed to have fled to Syria to join the Islamic State extremist group have issued emotional public appeals urging them to come home as police searched for them in Turkey.
The girls, all 15 to 16 years old, disappeared from their homes Tuesday. Authorities said they boarded a plane to Turkey.
Relatives of Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, both 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, broke down in tears while speaking of their shock in televised interviews.
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Authorities have been criticized after it emerged that Begum had had online contact with a fourth girl who left the UK previously to become a "jihadi bride" in Syria.
Scotland Yard said Monday its officers are working closely with Turkish authorities in their investigation.