LONDON, United Kingdom–A British citizen is reported to have carried out a suicide bombing in Syria, as fears over the increasing number of foreign fighters in the country are being realized by Western governments.
The news emerged as the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at King’s College, London, received confirmation from sources inside Syria.
British jihadists operating in Syria originally claimed that a man going by the pseudonym of Abu Suleiman al Britani drove a suicide bomb truck into Aleppo prison Thursday.
When asked for confirmation, ICSR representatives received the reply, “Lol, yes, news travels fast. The first British brother!” It has been claimed that a martyrdom video will shortly be posted online.
Shiraz Maher, from the ICSR, said, “Real strategic gains were made by the fighters on the ground, and a very large part of that was due to this suicide bombing.”
Concerns over the number of foreign fighters in Syria are now plaguing Western intelligence services. In December, ICSR claimed that up to 11,000 non-Syrians (among them up to 2,000 Western Europeans) had gone to fight in Syria, while earlier this week it was reported that at least 50 Americans were fighting alongside Islamist groups in the country.
British estimates claim that there are up to 366 jihadists from the UK who have gone to fight alongside Al Qaeda and its affiliates, though French intelligence suggested that the figure may be up to twice as many.
France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain are all thought to have had dozens if not hundreds of citizens make the trip to Syria to fight against Assad, in figures that include those who are currently in Syria, as well as those who have since returned home, been arrested, or killed.