UK intelligence chief: Al-Qaeda on the rise as a result of decline of Daesh

Alex Younger, chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, says Al-Qaeda is back on the rise after the collapse of Daesh. (MI6)
Updated 15 February 2019
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UK intelligence chief: Al-Qaeda on the rise as a result of decline of Daesh

LONDON: Britain's security relationship with its European allies was being galvanized by common problems such as dealing with militant fighters and brides returning to Europe after the collapse of Daesh's "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq, the chief of Britain's foreign intelligence service said on Friday.
"We are very concerned about this because all experience tells us that once someone has put themselves in that sort of position they are likely to have acquired the skills and connections that make them potentially very dangerous," Alex Younger, chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, said.
"The reality is that so far, it has been a completely manageable problem," he added. "I can't predict accurately what will happen in future, but it's a very complex environment."
Daesh has morphed and is proving "adept at inspiring attacks rather than directing them", he said.
"Al-Qaeda, which has always been in a rivalry, and almost zero sum relationship with Daesh, has, I think, undergone a certain resurgence as a result of the degradation of Daesh," he added. "It is definitely not down and out."


Dutch arrest suspected Syrian militant commander: prosecutor

Updated 21 May 2019
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Dutch arrest suspected Syrian militant commander: prosecutor

THE HAGUE: Dutch police on Tuesday arrested a Syrian asylum seeker suspected of committing war crimes as a commander of the Al-Nusra Front militant group, prosecutors said.
The 47-year-old man, identified only by his nom de guerre Abu Khuder, was detained in Kapelle in the southwestern Netherlands, the Dutch federal prosecutor said.
“The man is accused of participating in the armed struggle as a commander or a terrorist Jabhat Al-Nusra battalion,” the prosecutor said in a statement, using another name for the Al-Nusra front.
It said he was held “on suspicion of committing war crimes and terrorist crimes in Syria,” adding that he had fought in a battalion known as Ghuraba’a Mohassan (Strangers of Mohassan).
The arrested Syrian has lived in the Netherlands since 2014 and was granted a temporary asylum permit, the statement said.
Police searched the suspect’s house and recovered documents, a computer and a smartphone, it said, adding that he was due to appear in court on Friday.
He was arrested based on information provided by German police, where six homes belonging to suspected members of the same battalion were raided, it added.
German police “provided witness testimonies against the suspect,” the Dutch prosecutor said.
The Al-Nusra Front was allied to Al-Qaeda but renounced ties to the group. Under a new name, it now dominates the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), which holds administrative control of the Syrian city of Idlib.
The arrest of the Syrian comes as the Netherlands grapples with the problem of what to do with home-grown radicals who went to fight in Syria.
At least 315 people left the Netherlands since the start of Syria’s civil war in 2011 to join militant groups, according to Dutch media reports quoting official figures.
Around 85 have been killed in the fighting and 55 have returned.
The issue was highlighted in March when the Dutch husband of a British-born teenager who fled to join Daesh said he wanted her to live with him in the Netherlands along with their child.