Bradford family of seven's trip to Turkey 'came totally out of the blue'


Urgent appeals have been made for information about a missing Bradford family of seven amid fears they may be trying to get to Syria.

Police say Imran Ameen, 39, his wife, Farzana Ameen, 40, and their five children, aged between five and 15, are believed to have travelled to Turkey, a well-known staging post for British people heading for the Syrian war-zone.

Community leaders have said they are extremely concerned the family may be heading for Syria, especially with such young children, and have appealed for anyone with information to help the police search.

West Yorkshire Police said the family was last seen on October 5 but were reported missing on Tuesday.

Arshid Siddique, a relative who lives on the same street, described Mr Ameen as a quiet and nice guy and said the close knit street had been left in shock.

He told BBC Radio Leeds: "The strange thing is they never saw anyone before they went, never said goodbye. There's my sister up the road who Farzana is close with, my aunty down the road. She didn't see anybody, we didn't hear nothing from her.

"Even this morning I've spoken to her brother in Pakistan, he was unaware and yesterday I told him this is what's happening on the street that his sister is missing and he didn't want to believe it, he didn't believe it."

He said she had messaged her brother telling him she had done what was best for the kids.

"Totally out of the blue to us, as I said the next door house there is where her mother was and she's bed ridden, so she was looking after her mother day and night, so you never expect the same person to suddenly jump ship and leaver her mum," he said.

Earlier this year, sisters Khadija Dawood, 30, Sugra Dawood, 34, and Zohra Dawood, 33, also from Bradford, went missing after going on an Islamic pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia with their nine children.

It is believed they entered Syria to join the Islamic State group.

West Yorkshire Police said they were working with relatives who are still in the UK as well with the Turkish authorities to try and secure their safe return.

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster said: "We would urge anyone with information about the family's whereabouts to come forward and speak to police so the family can safely return to the UK.

"Any piece of information, no matter how small, could help the UK or overseas authorities to locate the family so that they can be safely returned home to their loved ones."

Ishtiaq Ahmed, of the Bradford Council for Mosques, said he did not know the family but appealed for the community to tell the police any relevant information.

Mr Ahmed told BBC Radio Leeds: "I think West Yorkshire Police are right in making an appeal to the community and if there is anyone in the community who has information about the whereabouts of this family it's important that they give that information to the police so the police can do whatever needs to be done to make sure the children are safe."

Asked if his organisation had done enough, following the disappearance of the Dawood family earlier this year, he said: "I think over the years and months we have worked with our membership through mosques and through our faith schools and through other community relations to basically emphasise to individuals and families that Syria not a safe place for anyone to travel.

"And, particularly, it's not a safe place for young people and therefore I think people would be taking a great risk if they were to flee and go to that part of the world under the current circumstances."

He said: "We need to know more more information regarding this family - about their whereabouts and what their motivation may be.

"But generally I think people are listening and our taking our message very seriously but we need to go on and we need to keep on pushing this message."