The former head of counter-terrorism at MI6, Richard Barrett, has warned that it is an “impossible task” to keep tabs on the hundreds of British jihadists who have been fighting in Syria, according to the Telegraph.
He said that “possibly up to 300 people have come back to the UK” already, and that it’s an “absolute nightmare” for security agencies trying to track them.
His concerns are echoed by Cressida Dick, head of specialist operations including counter-terrorism at the Metropolitan Police: “I’m afraid I believe that we will be living with the consequences ofSyria – from a terrorist point of view, let alone the world,geopolitical consequences – for many, many, many years to come”, she said in an interview with the BBC’s The World This Weekend programme.
Last week it was reported that two British Muslims from Cardiff had travelled to Syria and created a video urging other Britons to join them at ISIS. Nasser Muthana, 20, and his brother Aseel released a video espousing anti-Western hatred and war. Their father is convinced that the two boys could not have funded the trip themselves and were instead subsidised by other radicals intent on recruiting more Muslims.
Former Cardiff councillor Mohammed Sarul Islam said that he believed that young Muslims were not becoming radicalised in mosques but instead by internet clerics easily accessible to young Britons.With 500 British Muslims thought to be in Syria, the issue remains the primary security concern for the British government.
It comes at an inopportune time for security agencies as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has halved its counter-terrorism budget to £15 million.