British men fighting alongside Al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria have said that after Syria, they aim to take the battle to the United States and Britain.
Vice News posted video with interviews of British men who traveled to the combat zone to pair up with the jihadi groups Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“I say to United States that your time will come and we will bleed you to death and, inshallah [Allah willing], will raise the flag in the White House,” a 26-year-old Briton told the Vice News interviewer.
“My feeling is great, hamdullallah (thank Allah), I’m happy I’m here. And I’m here to please Allah… and I’m not here to please anyone else but Allah,” he added, describing his aim as contributing to jihad on behalf of Muslims.
During the entire video, all of the men were masked, revealing only their eyes, and none provided their names.
A second British citizen blamed his government and prime minister for perpetrating “crimes” against Muslims. He tied his objectives with those of the killers of Lee Rigby, the British soldier who was hacked to death in the London neighborhood of Woolwich in May. The perpetrators – both Muslim converts – described their motives as revenge for the killing of Muslims by British forces serving in the Middle East.
“Like the guy in Woolwich, he explained that [Prime Minister] David Cameron would never walk on the street, and he’ll never get shot in the face, whereas you guys who are soldiers, or just normal folk, will take the blame for the crimes that are committed worldwide by Britain itself so we have to fight. It’s part of our obligation…to protect our honor, to protect our women,” the Syrian rebel from the UK said.
After Syria, the aim is “to bring back the honor of Islam from Filastine [Palestine] to Al Aqsa to all over the Muslim world, and Britain will be next,” said one of the British jihadis.
“From this land we will march toward the Al Aqsa mosque [in Jerusalem] in the name of Allah. Allahu Akbar! [Allah is the greatest],” said another.
The Vice News crew visited Syrian rebel outposts just over the Turkish border where fighters were focused on battling Kurdish nationalists, not the Assad regime.
Rebels from both the Nusra Front and ISIS made a show for the cameras of hugging, despite recent reports of a rift between them.
With so many volunteers from overseas, key members of the fighting units are the interpreters. One fighter explained that they have Dutch, English, French and Russian interpreters on hand.
One rebel strongly denied reports in the Arabic and Western media about the practice of so-called “sex jihad,” in which devout Muslim women allegedly have traveled to the Syrian frontlines for the pleasure of the radical fighters. He blamed Shi’ites for coming up with the idea.
The head of domestic intelligence for Britain’s MI5 intelligence agency, Andrew Parker, last week estimated that the number of British Al Qaeda sympathizers in Syria at in the “low hundreds.”
Speaking to the British parliament last week Parker said this was a “very important strand of the threat” the UK faced, the BBC reported.
The British broadcaster further reported that one in 10 foreign fighters in Syria is from Europe and according to Center for the Study of Radicalization at London’s King’s College, most of the British volunteers are in their 20s and are university-educated Muslims.
“We’ve seen low hundreds of people from this country go to Syria for periods and come back – some large numbers are still there – and get involved in fighting,” Parker said.
“This is partly because of the proximity of Syria and the ease of travel there, but also because it is attractive as what they would see as a jihadi cause,” he added.
According to a Daily Beast report last month, U.S. intelligence estimates vary about the number of Americans who have gone on jihad in Syria, ranging from 10 to 60.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers has called the Syrian civil war a “jihadist magnet.” He told the Daily Beast in September, “At some point all of these people from Europe are going home. All the folks there from all over the world, including the United States, will be coming home if they do not meet their end on the battlefield.”
Watch the video report from Vice: