3 British school girls fly to Turkey, aim to 'become Jihadi brides' in Syria
The girls, all pupils at Bethnal Green Academy, are reported to have flown from Gatwick to Istanbul on Tuesday during their half-term break.
Shamma Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and another 15-year-old who remains unnamed are friends with a fourth girl, who travelled to Syria in December 2014.
Commander Richard Walton said he hoped a police appeal would mean the girls were prevented from crossing the border into Syria.
“I think there's a chance we can get these three girls back if they have not travelled to Syria,” he said.
He claimed none of the girls had left messages to their family or friends before their departure.
The girls were not flagged up as a concern by Turkish Airlines.
“[We are] concerned about numbers of girls who have or are intending to travel to the part of Syria that is controlled by ISIS,” said Walton.
Police added that Shamima is possibly travelling under the name of Aklima Begum.
Walton said he hoped the girls would "hear our concerns for their safety and have the courage to return now, back to their families who are so worried about them."
"The choice of returning home from Syria is often taken away from those under the control of Islamic State, leaving their families in the UK devastated and with very few options to secure their safe return," he added.
Two of the girls were reported missing on Tuesday evening, and the third on Wednesday morning.
They are believed to have given their families reasonable excuses for being out during the day.
Those with information can call the free Anti-Terrorist Hotline number on 0800 789 321.
SO15 appeal after 3 schoolgirls reported missing - believed to be heading to Syria via Turkey info call 0800 789 321 pic.twitter.com/iL0opHEpMs
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk)February 20, 2015