Campaign launched to stop young people going over to Syria to fight

Assistant Chief Constable Ingrid Lee
Assistant Chief Constable Ingrid Lee
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Police are appealing to all communities to help protect young people who may be planning to travel to Syria to fight.

The North East Counter Terrorism Unit is supporting a national awareness campaign aimed at protecting young people from the dangers of travelling 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 (Thursday).

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.

Assistance Chief Constable Ingrid Lee, lead for the North East Counter Terrorism Unit said: “We are increasingly concerned about the numbers of young people who have or are intending to travel to Syria to join the conflict.

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

“We want to increase their confidence in the police and partners to encourage them to come forward so that we can intervene and help.

“This is not about criminalising people it is about preventing tragedies.

“We want to inform those who wish to genuinely help the Syrian cause how they can do so safely and legally.”

People who genuinely want to help the Syrian cause are advised to 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.

Michelle Russell, from the Charities Commission, said: “There is a genuine and desperate need for humanitarian assistance to help people affected by the conflict in Syria. UK charities and their partners are playing an important role in the delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria and its neighbouring countries. In part, they have only been able to do this by the generous donations of the public.

“We want everyone to make informed choices about which charities to support and how to support them so that they can feel confident that their contribution really will make a difference to the humanitarian effort.”

To check that a charity is registered and ensure that donations will be used properly, visit