LONDON: Britain needs to take urgent action to stop citizens travelling to fight in Syria and other conflicts, a parliamentary committee said on Friday, amid fears they could be radicalised there and return to carry out attacks on their homeland.
The head of the Home Affairs Committee also warned that Britain faced a “terrorist threat” as grave as at any point since the Sept 11 attacks on the United States 13 years ago. “The number of UK citizens and Westerners travelling to fight in foreign conflicts has reached alarming levels unlike anything seen in recent years,” the committee said in a report on counter-terrorism. “We require an immediate response targeted at dissuading and preventing those who wish to go to fight from going.”
Britain and other European governments have stepped up warnings in recent months that Muslims who go to fight against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria could end up posing a threat to their home countries. Security chiefs reckon several hundred Britons have joined the Syrian conflict. Last month, British counter-terrorism police launched a campaign to help Muslim women dissuade young people in their communities from trying to go to Syria. “Stopping British men and women going to become foreign fighters, in Syria and other theatres of conflict, and engaging with them when they return is vital to avoid endangering the security of the UK for many years to come,” said committee chairman Keith Vaz.
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