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24 April 2014, 12:15
A new campaign begins today aimed at starting the conversation about protecting young people from the dangers of travelling to Syria.
The national event is being mirrored across the Eastern region with a similar launch in Luton aimed at encouraging women to reach out to other women who are concerned about young people who may be planning to travel to Syria. The campaign is urging community representatives to continue the conversation within their communities so that everyone can play a part in protecting our young people from these risks.
To support the campaign, a leaflet has been designed which outlines the risks of travelling to Syria and will be issued at ports across the country.
It was recognised at the meeting that whilst some youngsters want to travel to fight in the conflict many others want to offer aid and support to the Syrian people. One of the key messages is the importance of letting 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 DEC or its member charities.
The number of people travelling to Syria from the UK is judged to be in the low hundreds and information that is available shows that the number of Syria-related arrests has increased substantially in 2014. The figure for the whole of 2013 was approximately 25 yet for the first three months of 2014 alone it is approximately 40.