Syria fighters pose no risk to UK, says father

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Media captionMr Deghayes said there is a history of Britons fighting in foreign wars

A man whose three sons went to fight against the Syrian government has said British fighters will not pose a risk to the UK on their return.

Abubaker Deghayes spoke to the BBC after David Cameron said Britain could not ignore the security threat the UK faced from jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

But Mr Deghayes said there is a history of Britons fighting in foreign wars.

After one of his sons Abdullah, 18, was shot dead in Syria, police searched the family home in Saltdean.

'Political tactic'

"There will always be people who are willing to join wars which they think are justified or they think they have a duty to help fellow human beings," Mr Deghayes said.

"But how does that pose as a risk here? There is no proof of that.

"I think this is a tactic by the politicians, misusing the facts. Somehow it works with them very well to put fear in the general public, [and] to pass laws taking away our liberties."

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Image caption Abdullah Deghayes was reportedly fighting with a militant group when he was shot

Mr Deghayes said: "Many British citizens, or British residents, fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. Many in Bosnia. Many in Kosovo, many in Libya, just recently.

"They've come back, they're living a normal life. They continue their life as normal."

Police raids

Abdullah died after joining the fight in Syria with his two brothers, Jaffar, 16, and Amer, 20.

He was reportedly fighting against President Assad's forces with a group linked to Al-Qaeda when he was shot.

After his son's death, Mr Deghayes urged his other two sons to leave the country and return home.

He said he had tried to persuade them not to go to Syria.

The brothers are the nephews of Omar Deghayes, who was held by the US at the Guantanamo Bay camp as an enemy combatant from 2002 until 2007, following his arrest in Pakistan.

Last month, Sussex Police and the South East Counter Terrorist Unit raided four addresses in Brighton and Hove, including the Dehayes's home, and seized material, although no arrests were made.

On Wednesday, Downing Street revealed the UK security service had arrested 65 people suspected of Syria-related jihadist activities in the past 18 months.

James Brokenshire, the minister for immigration and security, said the UK advises against all travel to Syria.

"Even people travelling for well-intentioned humanitarian reasons are exposing themselves to serious risk, including being targeted for recruitment by terrorist groups," he said.

"The best way to help the Syrian people is to donate to registered charities that have ongoing relief operations."

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