10 British women believed to be in Syria fighting Assad’s forces
Most of the women are believed to have travelled to Syria with their husbands, an expert said
Ten British women, including two teenagers, are thought to have left their country to join forces battling the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad, the Daily Mail, quoting an expert, reported Friday.
“There are around 10 British women out there, we believe, and most have travelled to Syria with their husbands,” said Shiraz Maher, head of outreach at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization at Kings College London.
“They go believing they will fight jihad to overthrow Assad but may actually be getting in the way of the rebellion by joining groups and fuelling the infighting they are involved in,” Maher said.
The daily said two teenagers from Portsmouth, a Surrey woman, two Londoners and five others from cities across the north of England have reportedly joined rebel fighters in Syria.
The news comes a day after Britain’s Metropolitan Police issued an appeal to women to inform on male relatives with plans to join the fighting in the war-torn country.
Maher, the expert, warned that some of those heading to Syria might end up with groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a faction disowned by Al-Qaeda that is hostile to rebel forces seeking the ouster of Assad.
“They go believing they will fight jihad to overthrow Assad but may actually be getting in the way of the rebellion by joining groups and fuelling the infighting they are involved in,” Maher told the newspaper.
“Most British jihadists go to Syria for sincere reasons to help in what they believe is a struggle against oppression but many don’t appreciate the reality on the ground,” he said.
At least 600 Britons are believed to have gone to fight in Syria since the uprising began in March 2011, 20 of whom are believed to have been killed.