FREEDOM fighters, or those moved by the plight of the Syrian people, are being warned off travelling to the war-torn country.

Dorset Police is behind a campaign which aims to discourage young people from travelling to Syria, whether it is to fight or give aid.

Bashar al Assad’s government is fighting a civil war against a group of rebels.

Around 400 Britons are believed to have gone take part in the fighting, with an estimated 20 having died.

They include Abdullah Deghayes, 18, from Brighton, who is believed to have died in Latakia province earlier this month.

Authorities want to get the word out that Syria is a very dangerous place and should not be visited.

Communities, particularly women, are being encouraged to reach out to young people who may be planning to travel there.

Dorset Police are backing the national campaign and urges people with concerns about friends or relatives planning to travel to contact the force.

Prevention team manager at Dorset Police Ian Ison said: “There is widespread concern about the situation in Syria and other conflict zones and the way that some will be driven to travel there to engage in humanitarian work or to take part in the fighting.

“There are ways to support the Syrian people more effectively where aid will get to where it is most needed. We advise people not to travel to Syria in line with Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice.”

He added: “By travelling to Syria, individuals will be causing distress and anxiety to their families and friends. It is vital that anyone who has concerns that someone may be considering such travel contacts Dorset Police on 101 so we can help reduce the risk to their safety.

“UK nationals who travel to Syria will attract the attention of UK authorities because we know that a number of extremist groups are operating in Syria.

“Some people who travel from the UK to fight will pose a security threat when they return. The police are working closely with partners to identify and disrupt potential threats.”

It has been recognised that while some youngsters want to travel to fight, others want to offer aid and support.

The advice is to donate to registered charities such as the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).