Islamist jihadists in Syria worry UK

2013-07-10 15:50
Rebels from al-Qaeda affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra waving their brigade flag as they step on the top of a Syrian air force helicopter. (File, Edlib News Network ENN/ AP)

Rebels from al-Qaeda affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra waving their brigade flag as they step on the top of a Syrian air force helicopter. (File, Edlib News Network ENN/ AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - Islamic extremists fighting in Syria pose one of the most worrying threats to Britain and its allies, particularly if they gain access to the regime's stocks of chemical weapons, parliament's intelligence committee said on Wednesday.

In their annual report, lawmakers said the consequences of al-Qaeda-linked extremists getting hold of President Bashar Assad's reported stocks of the sarin and VX nerve agents, ricin and mustard gas would be "catastrophic".

The committee, which oversees the work of Britain's intelligence agencies, also urged the government to speed up efforts to tackle the "disturbing" threat of cyber attacks.

"Al-Qaeda elements and individual jihadists in Syria currently represent the most worrying emerging terrorist threat to the UK and the West," the report says.

It quotes a warning from the head of external intelligence agency MI6, John Sawers, about the risk of "a highly worrying proliferation around the time of regime fall".

And it concludes: "There has to be a significant risk that some of the country's chemical weapons stockpile could fall into the hands of those with links to terrorism, in Syria or elsewhere in the region.

Cyber threats

"If this happens, the consequences could be catastrophic."

Elsewhere in the report, the committee warns that government pledges to boost Britain's defences against cyber attacks must be brought forward.

"The threat the UK is facing from cyber attacks is disturbing in its scale and complexity," it said.

State actors posed the biggest cyber threat - "China and Russia, for example, are alleged to be involved in cyber attacks" - but it said a number of countries were also thought to be using private groups to carry out state-sponsored attacks.

It added: "While work is underway to develop those capabilities that will protect the UK's interests in cyberspace... [we are] concerned that much of this work remains preparatory and theoretical."

Read more on:    bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.