Saskatoon StarPhoenix



BEIRUT Concerns are growing that the hundreds of British ISIL fighters in Syria and Iraq could be plotting attacks on the U.K., after a series of foiled attempts.

Stefan Aristidou, 23, of Enfield, England, who defected from the jihadist group and handed himself over to Turkish authoritie­s last week, said that 250 to 300 British fighters were still serving ISIL.

“Most of the Brits were not foot soldiers — they were in charge of the media and propaganda for the group,” Aristidou told The Daily Telegraph through an intermedia­ry in Syria. “They had higher roles.”

An estimated 850 to 1,000 Britons have gone to join ISIL and other jihadist groups. Almost half of those have since returned to the U.K. and more than 100 are believed to have been killed. There are concerns that those still in Syria could be planning terror attacks in the U.K. A number of plots have been foiled in recent weeks.

“There is now almost daily arrests of terrorists: two attacks were foiled in London just this week,” said Olivier Guitta of GlobalStra­t, a security and geopolitic­al risk consulting firm. “It is very likely that there is communicat­ion between those still in Syria and those at home.”

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