London, Mar 21: Five teenage girls who had shown an interest in going to Syria have been barred from travelling abroad by a judge at the High Court here, amid fears that they would go there to join Islamic State militant group.
The girls -- two aged 15 and three aged 16 -- were made wards of the court, a legal move that removes their passports and ban them from leaving England and Wales.
The order, the second such ruling this week, comes after Tower Hamlets local authority in East London raised concerns. Justice Hayden had earlier this week issued a similar travel ban order in relation to a 16-year-old boy whose two elder brothers were killed fighting in Syria's civil war.
The teenager was also made a ward of court following an application from Brighton and Hove City Council. Last month, three girls from an east London school travelled to Syria, where it is feared they joined the Islamic State (IS) militant group.
Making the order, Justice Hayden directed that the girls are not identified, and also ordered the removal of the passports of a number of adults involved in their care as there was evidence to suggest family members may have been aware that the girls were becoming more radicalised.
"It seems to me that that must have been known to the parents and they deliberately did not share it with the authorities who were keen to protect these vulnerable young girls," he said. Justice Hayden said the risk to teenagers travelling to Syria was "as grave as it can be".
He said, "As I said early this week in another case, and I repeat it in this, sometimes the law has to intervene to protect these young people, ultimately from themselves."
"Therefore I am satisfied there is evidence of sufficient cogency and the evaluation of risk is such as to justify the orders sought."
A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council said, "We have not taken this step lightly but we came to the conclusion that it was in the best interests of the young people involved to take this course of action."
UK security services estimate 600 Britons have gone to Syria or Iraq to join militant groups, including three schoolgirls who fled to Turkey last month and are now believed to be in Raqqa as so-called "jihadi brides".
The disappearance of Shamima Begum, Amira Abase, both 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, has triggered a country-wide alert over the radicalisation of British Muslim teenagers by the IS.