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'Brits fighting in Syria were no surprise for UK govt'

Published time: February 18, 2014 07:56

British soldier.(AFP Photo / Nicolas Asfouri)

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The UK government has been lying to its citizens by saying it is shocked by radicals going out to fight in Syria and returning, as the same happened in Libya two years ago, defense consultant Moeen Raoof told RT.

Around 250 British jihadists have returned to the UK after training and fighting in Syria, a senior Whitehall security official told the Sunday Times on Monday. According to the officials, these people are suspected of wanting to carry out attacks in the UK.

RT: Are the tables now turning on the UK which is supporting the Syrian opposition?

Moeen Raoof: Yes, they are. The British government is claiming that preventative initiative is there and exists in its current form to stop radicalism. But it hasn’t prevented these individuals from traveling out to Syria and carry out operations, which result in the moderate surveillance and in Syrian government forcers or members off.

RT: How much of a danger are these British nationals now fighting alongside the rebels, if they come back home?

MR: There is a possibility of that threat becoming very real in the UK. These guys are obviously radicalized before they leave the UK and there is a possibility that some sort of trigger, you know, it would take very light trigger to activate them again once. So yes, it’s a possibility. It’s not certain until it happens, obviously.

RT: The Syrian conflict has been going for some time now. Do you think the UK's security services have been surprised by this turn of events? Did they see this coming?

MR: No. If you remember during the Libyan conflict of 2011-2012 a lot of Libyan residents and citizens in the UK left to fight in Libya and they have returned. I have met these guys, have seen them on the streets here and these guys are potentially a threat as well, so it’s not a surprise for the British government. They know this has been happening, know these people have been going to Syria. The British government has been lying to its citizens by saying they are now all of a sudden shocked by the developments of these radicals and homicidal maniacs going out to Syria and returning because they know that has been happening for over two years.

RT: People are saying this latest initiative discriminates against young British Muslims. Surely the security services are trying to be safe. Is it better to be safe and sorry or are these accusations true?

MR: They are, because what they are doing is they are actually looking as that great British institution, the EDL [The English Defence League] that has so eloquently called [young British Muslims] ‘Muslamics’, they have actually high-targeted young men, who have nothing to do with radicalization or are not extremists but you know, they paint everyone under the same brush. But they have to target these guys specifically and look at the people who are in fact radical.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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