In our fifth feature article from Counter Terror Expo 2013; Chris Yates looks at the potential threat to Europe from militants involved in the current Syrian conflict.
Chris writes: “Mere weeks before intelligence and counter terrorism officials gather in London again for the annual Counter Terror Expo conference and exhibition, several countries have elevated their alert status in the face of a potential backlash from the ongoing crisis in Syria and recent military activity in Mali and Somalia.”
“Holland has become the latest country to react to concern over fallout from attempts to topple President Bashar Hafez al-Assad of Syria. Sources have cited an increase in the number of suspected Islamist militants travelling from the Netherlands to Syria and a radicalization of Dutch youth, as reason for the move.”
“It is understood that a significant number of persons of interest have recently left to fight for radical Islam in various countries in Africa and the Middle East including Syria. Dutch authorities fear that these individuals may return and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”
“The move follows a stark warning by British Foreign Secretary William Hague that the longer the Syria conflict continues, the greater the risk it will breed a new generation of battle-hardened militants, who will pose a threat to Britain and other countries in Europe.”
“British intelligence and law enforcement officials have arrested numerous individuals suspected of involvement with Syria’s radical Islamist groups at various airports in recent months.”
“They include Shajul Islam, a 26 year-old trainee NHS doctor, who was arrested as he arrived he arrived back in the UK on a flight from Egypt with his wife and one-year-old daughter.”
“Islam is accused of being part of an extremist group and has subsequently been charged with the kidnap of a British journalist and a Dutch photographer in Syria. He will stand trial at the Old Bailey in early June.”
“Counter Terror Expo’s world leading Global Terrorism Conference will address the potential fallout from the Syria crisis, military activity in Mali and Somalia and ongoing challenges stemming from the Arab Spring uprisings, when it convenes from 24-25 April 2013.”
“This major conference delivers key insight on the continuing inter agency drive to track the terrorist menace and influence potential outcomes including through de-radicalization programmes.”
“The Quilliam Foundation, a London-based think tank that studies extremism, has estimated that there are 1,200-1,500 foreign fighters across Syria alone. This matches with a recent United Nations (UN) report which warned that the number of foreign fighters in the conflict is growing and could further radicalize the rebellion against Bashar al-Assad’s rule.”
Counter Terror Expo remains the key annual event for government and industry professionals across the relevant domain spaces. Experts in their respective fields gather in London each year to discuss the principal current issues, debate potential methods of mitigation with delegates from across the globe and drive forward appropriate decision making in their sphere of influence.
For more information of the Counter Terror Expo 2013, please visit their website.