British terror chief Charles Farr has warned a security conference in London today that the Western support for Syria’s rebels has an unforeseen negative consequence: it puts massive numbers of al-Qaeda fighters close to Europe.
Compared to the fighting in southern Iraq or Afghanistan and Pakistan, the fighting in Syria is just a stone’s throw away from the European Union’s frontier with the Middle East, and with Turkey opening their doors to rebel fighters of all stripes, the Islamist factions are even closer.
Though Farr conceded that this would be a major security threat going forward he sought to downplay the numbers of fighters that were directly al-Qaeda linked, expressing hope that many of the foreign jihadists went to Syria to help the West, and were only working with Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s affiliate, because they are “the most effective.”
Of course, al-Qaeda was one of the first international groups on board for regime change, and Syria’s government has been warning the West for quite awhile that backing the rebels was going to have negative consequences. Still, officials will pretend to be surprised.
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