Two West Yorkshire teenagers are the latest in a line of stories in the news about UK teens escaping to Syria to fight on both sides of the conflict with Islamic State. But how are they doing it?
*This is us officially stating, this is in no way a tool, a guide or endorsement. Simply investigative and explanatory journalism.*
IGNORING THE UK GOVERNMENT
The UK’s foreign and commonwealth office advise against ALL travel to Syria.
There is widespread fighting in the majority of the country, air strikes and high threats of kidnapping and terrorism.
It’s not illegal to travel there, just very, very dangerous.
But anyone who has left for Syria and whose activities amount to terrorism under UK law could be prosecuted on return by the UK government.
But hey, what do these guys know? So far it’s thought 600 people from the UK have travelled to Syria and Iraq.
KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING
Syria is in the Middle East, next to Iraq and Turkey.
Many of the Brits that have travelled are flying to Turkey and slipping through the border into Syria, which is infamously easy to slip through undetected. Mini-buses shuttle people to remote parts of the country where the border is less well maintained.
Others have gone to the island of Cyprus and then sailed across.
You could always ask an expert: Not everyone has the best knowledge when it comes to these matters – so one individual posted on the Lonely Planet Traveler website asking for information on which borders were open to them.
As S.o.R. reported earlier the UK is bringing in exit checks at all borders. So you’d better have a good reason for travelling.
Some people have claimed they were going on holiday or staying with relatives, whilst others say their reason for travelling is Humanitarian or Charity work
The two West Yorkshire teenagers who travelled to Turkey on 31st March told their families they were going on a school trip. They are now believed to be in Syria fighting with Islamic State.
A series of exits checks on citizens leaving the UK begin today, and by June it will effect everyone.
MODE OF TRANSPORTATION: COMMERICIAL AIR, SEA AND RAIL aka. pretty much everywhere as new checkpoints have been introduced in coach halls, ferry points and in train terminals that uses the Euro tunnel.
METHOD: Scan of the passport and a verification (meaning an official does a double take of your face to check if it matches your passport picture). No fake ID’s please.
TAKE TWO: This is a re-introduction, the last time we had exit checks were in 1998.
MORE INFORMATION: in the form of data so the government can keep an eye on who’s doing what, how and when.
REIGNING IN ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: This data will be able to improve identify and further tighten routes and visas that are vulnerable to being abused by illegal immigrants.
COMBATTING CRIME: Illegal immgration is a crime but the information collected will also help track wanted suspects or could play a vital role in solving crimes. Here’s hoping no more teenagers will be able to flee to Syria.
MONITORING NUMBERS: It has been often difficult to be certain about how many people have left the country and not returned in order to give an accurate account of what immigration figures actually are in the UK. This new system will make sure we know exactly how many people are roaming these lands.
CREATING MORE JOBS: 50 new staff have been recruited.
GENERAL ELECTION TACTICS: Given that this is being bought in the final month of a Conservative government, it has the ability to gain popularity amongst the UKIP supporters or those who have been troubled by an immigration surge on home turf in the UK.
MORE QUEUES: Well we don’t know for sure yet, but this is the UK, we already have to queue to drop off our bags, get a ticket or board a ferry so make that of it what you will.