‘Please come back’

The family and friends of a 15-year-old girl from Bristol who police fear has run away to join extremists in Syria, have described her as an “intelligent, beautiful” A-grade student, who dreamt of becoming a dentist.

Schoolgirl Yusra Hussien vanished last week and is now thought to be in Turkey preparing to cross the border into Syria and join up with jihadists from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Her distraught parents, who are originally from Somalia, last night appealed for her to return home and said they were shocked and confused by her decision to leave.

In a statement, the Hussien family said: “Please come back. We miss you very much. You are not in any trouble. We just want you to be safe and to come home as soon as possible.”

Anira Khokhar, spokesman for the family, said police claims that she was on her way to Syria was “speculation” adding she was an “intelligent, beautiful young lady”. She said: “The family have lost a daughter and that is the most important thing here. They are just a family whose daughter is somewhere they are unaware of and she is in danger.”

Hibaq Jama, a Somali-born Labour councillor for the Lawrence Hill area of Bristol said: “I think it is really important to understand that at the heart of it is a grieving mother and a grieving father who as of yet have no idea where their 15-year-old daughter is.

“What we know about her is that she is an incredibly bright, incredibly articulate, popular, gifted young lady who was admired by, and very much looked up to, by other members of her peers. “She was doing very well in school, she is in year 11 and has started that final year of her education. She was very aspirational, wanting to go on and become a dentist.”

School friends said they were surprised to hear that she may have travelled to the Middle East, describing her as a quiet hard working pupil.

One 15-year-old classmate said: “She was very smart. She was always getting As and A*s – that is the kind of student she was.”

Another friend said she had seen Yusra the day before she went missing and said she had appeared completely normal.

“I sat next to her and she seemed fine. She didn’t have any new friends that we knew about, and she was a completely normal girl,” she said.

Other teenagers who knew the girl described her as “very religious”, with one adding: “She had a very good education, she was very smart. She was very intelligent and had a very bright future ahead of her. I hope she is OK. I hope we hear some good news soon.”

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