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Leaving Britons in Syria weakens our national security

Read the full opinion piece by former MI6 counter-terrorism director Richard Barrett at the Telegraph.

“The only way to reduce the potential threat from British nationals in these detention facilities is to repatriate them and either prosecute them or reintegrate them into society, working within a rule of law framework. This will not be straightforward, but that should not prevent progress. Several Western countries have already started down this road: in the nine months to June last year, well over 300 children and over 50 women were repatriated to 13 different countries. As experience grows, the task should get easier. The UK’s myopic, incoherent, and increasingly isolated approach is not so much “Global Britain” as it is “insecure island”.

The UK enjoys considerable influence on Western counter-terrorist policy, but we are falling behind and missing an opportunity to study first hand the drivers of international terrorism in this country.

It is not credible to argue that the Kurdish authorities are somehow better equipped to deal with our citizens. They certainly have fewer resources and less counter-terrorism experience than we do, and we should accept responsibility for assessing the risk that the British families who lived under ISIS pose now or may do in the future and deal with them accordingly.”