Will British Jihadists Bring the War Home?

(Telegraph-UK) Con Coughlin - It is easy to understand why so many young men and women in the West, incensed by the Assad regime's disregard for human life, would want to offer their services to help overthrow this vile regime. But the objectives of some of the more extreme factions within the Syrian opposition are hardly benign. In towns such as Raqqa that are now under the control of Islamist militias, inhabitants claim they have suffered severe beatings for committing minor transgressions, such as spraying graffiti, while captured pro-Assad fighters are regularly beheaded in public. So it is hardly surprising that the presence of hundreds of Western volunteers within the ranks of the Syrian opposition movement is increasingly viewed with grave concern by security officials, who fear the conflict is being turned into a fertile breeding ground for a new generation of Islamist terrorists. British intelligence estimates that more than 300 British Muslims are now actively engaged in fighting for al-Qaeda-linked groups, such as the Nusra Front. Scotland Yard warned that British jihadists as young as 16 were traveling to take up arms in the Syrian conflict. Richard Walton, the head of counter-terrorism command, warned there were signs of returnees being ordered by militants associated with al-Qaeda to carry out attacks in Britain.

2013-12-06 00:00:00

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