BRITISH fighters in Syria are feared to have joined a “Jihadi union” that supports their demands to be allowed home.
More than 100 Britons in Syria are believed to be “key players” in the new group which has launched a systematic campaign to repatriate foreigners to their home countries in the West. Called the Unity Project, its aim is to act as “an advocate to bring some rights back to some of the people who have either lost their citizenship or lost their passports”. It will also provide legal assistance and secure passports and nationality rights for the children of expatriates born in Syria.
It says it is providing support for aid workers and civilians caught up in the fighting and stripped of their citizenships.
But it was last night branded part of cynical ploy to “dupe the public into believing that these individuals pose no threat to our society”.
The news comes as the family of British IS bride Shamima Begum is calling for her to be allowed back into the country.
The 350-strong group is led by Bilal Abdul Kareem, a US muslim convert who attempted to sue the US Government in 2017 in order to be removed from a “kill list”, having been targeted in five drone strikes.
The self-declared journalist’s work includes an interview with Abu Qatada, the infamous hate preacher deported to Jordan by Theresa May, and he is known to have smuggled Shukee Begum, British wife of IS suicide bomber Jamal al-Harith, out of Syria and into Turkey. His work has been dubbed by former US counter terror official Alberto M Fernandez part of “an effort to reinvent jihadi fighters as kinder and gentler”.
Unity Project was launched in January in Idlib, Syria. This is the last province under rebel control and is administered by Hayat Tahrir-al Sham (HTS), an Al-Qaeda affiliate.
It is proscribed as a terrorist group by most Western governments – including the UK. Kareem said: “Most of our governments are either trying to kill us, would like for someone else to kill us, or would be quite happy to see us dead.”
Another member of the Unity Project, Tauqir Tox Sharif, left the UK for Syria in 2012. Sharif, whose British citizenship was revoked last year, claims he is an aid worker who simply decided to stay in Syria.
However, in 2016 he said: “We have a goal to live in a real Islamic State – and that’s a scary idea for the West.”
Last night Dr Paul Stott, of the Henry Jackson Society, said: “The Unity Project is attempting to dupe the public into believing these individuals, many of whom have operated in jihadist controlled territory for years, pose no threat.”