People traveling from the United Kingdom to Syria will be detained by police upon their return, a British police chief said on Saturday. With Syria being a safe haven and training ground for Islamic terrorists, homegrown Islamists returning from the war-torn Arab nation pose a terror threat to Britain.
Greater Manchester’s top cop, Police Chief Peter Fahy, who also heads Britain’s Association of Chief Police Officers, said there is an enormous a concern in the UK over people traveling to Syria to fight in its civil war and then returning to apply their newly acquired “trade-craft.”
In January 2014 alone, 16 suspects were arrested on suspicion of terror offenses after returning from Syria, compared with 24 arrested in the entire 12-months of 2013, according to reports.
“[Syria] is an incredibly dangerous place and you will be arrested and stopped at the border if you try and come back [to Britain],” Chief Fahy said.
“We’ve stopped quite a number of people because we’re very, very clear about what will happen,” he added.
An informant who is believed to be a former member of the al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed that al-Qaeda was training hundreds of people who are British and American in Syria to become Muslim terrorists and charging them to perpetrate bombings and attack when they return home, according to British reports.
Chief Fahy noted that there is a deep concern over those who may be radicalized, who may have been engaged in terrorist training.
“If people are engaging in terrorism or planning terrorism or fundraising for terrorism then that is clearly against the law,” he said.
The Times of London reported on Saturday that security screening at airports has been increased, with the focus on people flying in from Istanbul, a staging point on the route into Syria across the Turkish border.
Two British women were on Wednesday charged with raising money suspected of funding terrorism in Syria, Scotland Yard police headquarters announced.
Two British men were charged last week with traveling to Syria for terror purposes, while another man was arrested on suspicion of attending a terror camp in the war-ravaged country.