600 Britons stopped from entering Syria to join terrorist organizations: Hammond
LONDONJan 16, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
Jan 16, 2016 12:00 am
Some 600 Britons have been stopped from going to Syria to try to join Daesh and such terrorists groups, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in comments reported Saturday.
Meanwhile some 800 have made it through since 2012, with half of them still thought to be inside the war-torn country, he said, in comments reported in The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph newspapers.
"Approximately 800 Brits have been to Syria, of whom half are still there. But on top of that 800, we have stopped another 600," he said, on a visit to southern Turkey.
The foreign secretary said the number of Britons stopped in Turkey had gone up in the past eight months. He said there was recently a greater coordination between London and Ankara.
Hammond said besides foreign airstrikes, the interception of terrorists aiming to link up with Daesh was placing extra strain on the group in its Raqa headquarters.
"There is evidence [Daesh] is finding it difficult to recruit to the brigades in Raqa because of the high attrition rate of foreign fighters," he said.
"Not just those targeted in UK drone strikes, but US strikes against prominent targets including foreign fighters.
"Generally they are very stretched now -- their manpower on the ground in relation to the territory they're holding is very thin."
British fighter jets joined the US-led coalition bombing Daesh targets in Syria after parliament backed the move in December.
Britain was already involved in attacking Daesh targets in Iraq.