- Some 1,500 have tried to enter Syria to join ISIS in the past four years
- An estimated 800 people succeeded, and around 400 remain in Syria
- Just 600 have been stopped, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said
- For more of the latest Islamic State news visit
Saturday, January 16, 2016
1,500 Britons have fled to join ISIS in Syria – and 800 have successfully got in, Hammond admits Enough got through to be Battalion sized
The Foreign Secretary revealed an estimated 800 people, mostly jihadists and family members, have successfully entered the war-torn country in the last four years. Roughly half are still thought to be there.
But Mr Hammond revealed that a further 600 have been stopped in the same period.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, pictured a refugee camp near Adana in Turkey on Friday, revealed 800 Brits have successfully entered Syria to join ISIS in the past four years
Some have been halted as they tried to leave Britain, while others have been seized on planes and trains arriving in Istanbul.
Of those captured abroad, some have been returned to the UK while others have been detained in Turkey for breaching laws forbidding illegal entry to Syria.Turkey is the main route for British extremists trying to join the fanatics in Syria. Of the 50 British fighters known to have died, almost all arrived in Syria via Turkey.
Mr Hammond, who is visiting Turkey for talks on border control and dealing with the refugee crisis, said Islamic State’s recruitment drive was also being hit by the success of western air strikes on its ‘capital’ Raqqa, in northern Syria, and other strongholds.
‘Approximately 800 Brits have been to Syria, of whom half are still there,’ Mr Hammond said. But on top of that 800 we have stopped another 600.
Out of the 800 Brits who have succeeded, some 400 are believed to still remain in Syria with ISIS
‘There is evidence they are finding it difficult to recruit to the brigades in Raqqa because of the high attrition rate of foreign fighters. Not just those targeted in UK drone strikes, but US strikes against prominent targets, including foreign fighters.’
Mr Hammond’s comments come amid embarrassment for ministers and the police over the case of Siddhartha Dhar, a terror suspect who slipped out of Britain in September 2014 to join Islamic State (IS) while on police bail.
Scotland Yard was humiliated this month when it emerged Dhar – now known as Abu Rumaysah – was the prime suspect as the new ‘Jihadi John’ in the latest gruesome IS execution video.
In the video, Syrian men accused of spying for Britain were shot at point blank range.
The 32-year-old Londoner skipped bail in September 2014 on terror-related charges and almost immediately travelled to Paris by coach with his family, despite being asked by police to surrender his passport.
Police sent a letter reminding Dhar to surrender his travel document on November 7 – six weeks after he had travelled to Syria.
David Cameron said this week he would now consider a change in law to make it a condition of police bail that terror suspects surrender their passports.