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Britons in Syria 'may be getting in way of rebellion'

A terrorism expert has said the Britons going to Syria to fight the Assad regime are generally doing so for "sincere reasons" but may end up making the situation worse for rebel forces.

Dr Shiraz Maher of King's College London said:

Most British jihadists go to Syria for sincere reasons to help in what they believe is a struggle against oppression but many don't appreciate the reality on the ground.

There are around 10 British women out there, we believe, and most have travelled to Syria with their husbands.

They go believing they will fight jihad to overthrow Assad but may actually be getting in the way of the rebellion by joining groups and fuelling the infighting they are involved in.

Ten British women 'may be fighting in Syria'

A female rebale fighter assembles a rifle in an Aleppo mosque.
A female rebale fighter assembles a rifle in an Aleppo mosque. Credit: Reuters

Ten British women may have travelled to Syria to join the fight against the Assad regime's forces, according to experts.

The Daily Mirror reports that the women could have joined up with an extremely violent Islamist group called 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which is so brutal it has reportedly even been disowned by al-Qaeda.

Terrorism expert Shiraz Maher, from King's College London, told the paper there were "around 10 British women out there", most of whom have accompanied their husbands.

Read: Muslim women urged to warn men against Syria travel

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Father of Brit killed in Syria 'would not have told police'

The father of an 18-year-old Briton killed in Syria has said he would not have informed the police of his son's intention to travel to the country, had he known.

His comments come as a national campaign is launched calling on Muslim women to urge their relatives not to fight in the conflict.

Speaking of his son, Abdullah, Abubaker Deghayes told ITV News: "My son was not going to commit a crime, he was going to help others."

Read more: Aunt of teen killed in Syria 'outraged' by campaign

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Aunt of teen killed in Syria 'outraged' by campaign

The aunt of a British teenager killed in Syria has told ITV News she is "outraged" by a national campaign calling on Muslim women to urge their relatives not to fight in the conflict.

Amani Deghayes said the campaign is asking people to spy on relatives and could potentially lead to vulnerable people - such as mothers - being manipulated by police.

Abdullah Deghayes, 18, from Brighton, died in Kassab, Latakia Province, earlier this month after leaving the UK in January. Two of his brothers remain in Syria.

Ms Deghayes added that her family has been trying everything they can to bring the two brothers home and were unaware they had left for Syria until they had gone.

Govt 'very concerned' about threat from Syria conflict

Prime Minister David Cameron said the Government was "very concerned" about the terror threat posed by the conflict in Syria.

Prime Minister David Cameron. Credit: Jeff Moore/Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

His comments come as a national campaign to urge British Muslim women to warn their husbands and sons against travelling to Syria has been launched.

Mr Cameron said: "We are very concerned as a Government and as a country about the threat of terrorism coming out of Syria. What we are doing is trying to prevent people from travelling there.

"And people can help: if you know someone who is in danger of being radicalised, with radical views, and is thinking of travelling to Syria, then the best thing to do is to talk to the police, talk to the authorities so that we can help you to stop that from happening."

Group hears mothers' concerns over Syria 'daily'

Sajda Mughal of the JAN Trust organisation said the group hears the concerns mothers have "daily" and understands the need to "protect your child".

Speaking after a campaign was launched to urge British Muslim women to their relatives against travelling to Syria, Ms Mughal said: "It is important for these mothers to protect and safeguard their children in order for them not to place their child's life at risk".

Chemical weapons watchdog plans Syria gas probe

The head of the global watchdog overseeing destruction of Syria's chemical weapons is considering launching an investigation into alleged chlorine gas attacks in the country.

Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the chemical weapons watchdog, may launch a probe into a reported chlorine gas attack in Syria
Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the chemical weapons watchdog, may launch a probe into a reported chlorine gas attack in Syria Credit: AA /TT/TT News Agency/Press Association Images

Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, could start a fact-finding mission without seeking formal permission from Syria, said Reuters.

Syria became a member of the watchdog last year as part of a deal with Russia and the US to destroy its chemical weapons programme.

Read: Chlorine gas 'dropped by helicopter' say opposition

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