Leaflets urge men in Bradford and Keighley not to go to Syria to fight

Leaflets urge men in Bradford and Keighley not to go to Syria to fight

Leaflets urge men in Bradford and Keighley not to go to Syria to fight

First published in Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter

Hundreds of leaflets have been distributed across the district urging people not to travel to Syria to get involved in the conflict there.

Counter-terrorism police are concerned that people heading to the war-torn country for humanitarian reasons could become embroiled in terrorist activities.

They are also pointing out the dangers of being attacked by the Assad regime, being kidnapped by terrorists or witnessing events so disturbing they can cause post-traumatic stress disorder.

The North East Counter Terrorism Unit has now distributed 2,000 leaflets across West Yorkshire, including hundreds in Bradford and Keighley, warning people of the dangers of going to Syria.

The leaflets have been dropped off by the district’s neighbourhood policing teams at places like community centres.

The leaflets, headed ‘Travel Warning - Information and Advice About Travelling To Syria,’ carry advice from the Foreign Office against all travel to Syria, pointing out that a number of UK nationals have been killed or injured there.

They warn about the risks of terrorist groups fighting in Syria and targeting UK nationals, including for kidnap.

And the leaflets emphasise: “If you travel to Syria for humanitarian reasons ... you could find yourself in serious danger.”

They advise anyone with concerns about someone planning to travel to Syria to contact their local police, or dial the non-emergency 101 number, in confidence, or contact the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline, on 0800 789321.

Helen Ball, senior national co-ordinator of counter-terrorism, said the leaflet appeal was about preventing tragedies and not about criminalising people.

“We are increasingly concerned about the numbers of young people who have, or are intending to travel to Syria to join the conflict,” she said.

“We want to ensure that people, particularly women, who are concerned about their loved ones are given enough information about what they can do to prevent this from happening.”

Police have advised those who want to support humanitarian efforts in Syria to choose peaceful methods, such as donating to charities.

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