At this time the Foreign and Commonwealth office has advised against all travel to Syria. British nationals in Syria should leave now.
The Syrian opposition has been clear that foreign fighters are not welcome in Syria. UK nationals who travel to Syria to fight the regime play into Assad’s claim that his regime is fighting foreign terrorists. This would unintentionally help Assad.
The whole of Syria is unsafe. Methods of attack have included shootings, bombings, suicide bombs and vehicle bombs. The threat of kidnapping is also very high in Syria. Terrorist groups in Syria use kidnapping as a tactic. There have been a number of kidnappings in Syria including British nationals. Some hostages have been killed.
Military operations have resulted in a significant number of deaths and injuries and there is a high threat from terrorism. Terrorist groups target UK nationals. A number of UK nationals have died fighting in Syria. Phone, internet, electricity and road networks are regularly disrupted, and people face difficulties accessing cash. We have serious concerns that anyone gaining access into Syria, whether it be for humanitarian reasons or because of a desire to support the Syrian opposition, may be targeted for recruitment by extremist groups. This could have significant repercussions for the safety of the individual concerned. If you were to be killed, injured or taken captive please also consider the devastating impact this would have for your loved ones.
What should I be looking for?
Do you know someone who has shown an interest in going to Syria? Do you know someone who has shown an interest in the conflict in Syria? Have you got concerns about someone being secretive about trips away or travel plans? Have you got concerns regarding someone travelling to one of the bordering countries, i.e Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey and where they may be travelling to next?
Terrorists are using social media to recruit people to fight for their cause. Are you aware of who your children are speaking with on the internet? What groups they are involved with on Facebook or Twitter? This doesn’t only apply to males, young girls are just as at risk.
Changes in behaviour and views could be an indicator that someone is becoming involved with a terrorist group. A sudden interest in world news or dislike of a certain group or religion.
What should I do?
If you suspect any of the above or if your just not sure and want some further advise, please get in touch. You could be the person to stop them from travelling to Syria. If you don’t act on your suspicions and a loved one, a friend, a son or daughter travels to Syria there is a risk that they will not return home.
You can do this in several ways;
Call the AntiTerror Hotline 0800 789 321 in confidence.
Speak to your local Prevent Team in Merseyside on 0151 777 8311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are now on twitter, look out for our messages by searching #merpolprevent