Tags: Syria | UK | MI5

MI5: Syria Jihadists Pose Mounting Threat to Britain

By    |   Friday, 11 Apr 2014 05:56 PM

Syria-related terrorism has become a major security challenge for British security services, according to senior officials in London.

“We have seen Syria become an attractive destination for UK extremists wishing to engage in violent jihad,” The British MI5 intelligence agency said.

“The nature of the [three-year-old civil war] in Syria and the emergence of the Al Nusrah Front, which has declared its allegiance to Al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, is leading to the country becoming an increasingly significant potential source of future threats to the UK and UK interests overseas.”

The new annual report issued this week by Charles Farr, Whitehall’s top anti-terrorism official, says the British government is “concerned about the threat to the UK from Syria-based groups and the threat from foreign fighters returning to this country.”

The report adds that dealing with terrorist activity from Syria is a challenge because of the numbers of people fighting alongside “the many Syria-based terrorist groups, their proximity to the UK, ease of travel across porous borders and the ready availability of weapons.”

London’s Daily Telegraph reported that up to 500 Britons have traveled to Syria to take up jihad during the civil war erupted in March 2011 – a number much higher than the number that went to fight in Iraq during the past decade. 

In December, the London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalization reported that since late 2011 as many as 11,000 people from at least 74 countries have traveled to Syria to fight alongside rebel forces. The center said the 11,000 figure was double its estimate from eight months earlier.

The center estimated in December that as many as 1,937 foreign fighters from Western Europe  had traveled to Syria. 

In February, U.S. intelligence officials said that at least 50 Americans had joined the various jihadist groups fighting in Syria, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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Syria-related terrorism has become a major security challenge for British security services, according to senior officials in London.
Syria, UK, MI5
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2014-56-11
Friday, 11 Apr 2014 05:56 PM
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