Five family members went to Istanbul to investigate what happened to their missing girls, and to try to understand what got them their and what their journey must have been like. Still, they are angry with British authorities that the three girls were allowed to get to Syria without being spotted and stopped.

They point to the fact that when a classmate of the three traveled to Syria last year, police officers wrote to parents of other children at their school. The letters were handed to the pupils, who were asked to give them to take them home.

Sultana, Begum and Abase are thought to have hidden the letters while plotting their own escape. Relatives believe the girls would still be at home if their families had received the information.

“If we knew, this wouldn’t have happened,” said Abase Hussen, father of Amira Abase. “We would have stopped them. We would have discussed it and taken away their passports from them. This wouldn’t have happened.”