The families of three London schoolgirls who are thought to be on their way to Syria made an emotional plea to them on 22 February to return home.

The three friends, two aged 15 and one 16, left their east London homes on 17 February and travelled to Gatwick airport where they caught a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul without telling their families.

The three girls Shamima Begum, Amira Abase, and Kadiza Sultana, were pupils at the Bethnal Green Academy.

Amira's father, Abase Hussen, clutched a teddy bear wearing a Chelsea FC T-shirt. He said Amira had bought the teddy as a present for her mother.

"The message I have for Amira is to get back home, we miss you, we cannot stop crying. Please think twice," he said.

Shamima Begum's sister Renu said the family had no indication about the teenager's intentions. Renu Begum held a pair of her sister's pyjamas.

"If you watch this, baby please come home. Mum needs you, more than anything in the world. You are a baby, we just want you home, we want you safe. Just contact anybody. Let them know that you need help - you have got all the help in the world. You are not in any trouble here. We all love you. If anybody has convinced you of anything, then they are wrong. We love you more than anybody that can ever love you."

The three girls were friends with a fourth teenage girl from the same school who police believe is already in Syria, having travelled to Turkey in December 2014.

Security forces estimate some 600 British Muslims have travelled to Syria to join the conflict there, some of them with the militant Sunni Islamist group Islamic State.

Around half have since returned, and dozens have been arrested in Britain under anti-terrorism legislation.