A senior Syrian rebel commander has said that Britons in Syria make up the majority of the foreign members of the country’s most bloodthirsty terrorist group, renowned for its involvement in beheadings and crucifixions.
“They are not freedom fighters. They are terrorists. We, the Syrian people now experience beheadings, crucifixions, beatings, murders, outdated methods of treating women, an obsolete approach to governing society. Many who participate in these activities are British,” the Free Syrian Army’s Brigadier-General Abdulellah Basheer wrote in a letter to The Times published on Monday.
Other fighters come from France, Germany, Belgium and a range of countries across the Middle East and Africa, so the group is predominantly foreign, Basheer said.
At the same time, the leader called for the UK to supply weapons to help fight the Sunni group, known as The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and asked for help in restraining their spheres of influence and preventing its ideology from being exported.
The group uses such extreme violent methods that it has even been denounced by Al-Qaeda, which in February issued a statement to disown the group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) at that time. The final ‘S’ in the acronym comes from ‘al-Sham’ and can either mean the Levant or Syria.
“Terrorism is not out of fashion; Syria has become its leading production factory,” Basheer wrote. “If ISIL is allowed to expand, these terrorists, having put their skills to the test in my country, will return to their homelands, perhaps to the UK, and continue on their pernicious path of destruction.”
Last week, 31-year-old Mashudur Choudhury, a UK-based dad of two, was the first Briton to be found guilty by a jury of terrorist offences linked to the Syrian violence.
“The evidence clearly shows that this defendant planned for and then travelled to Syria with the intention of attending a training camp,” prosecutor, Alison Morgan, told the jury.
Basheer offered his assessment of the conviction: “He is one of many. They are not freedom fighters, just terrorists.”
According to the EU anti-terror chief, Gilles de Kerchove, some 500 Europeans are fighting in Syria. “Not all of them are radical when they leave, but most likely many of them will be radicalized there, will be trained,” he cautioned in April, reported the BBC.
Tens of thousands have been slaughtered in the Syrian conflict. ISIS has garnered particular infamy for its brutal executions, leaving bodies in public places. Other documented abuses have included the flogging of children and electric shock torture.