MPs ban five Syria-linked jihadist groups in UK

A masked ISIS militant aiming a gun at captured Iraqi men Image copyright AFP
Image caption The proscribed organisations include ISIS which are known to have been involved in conflicts in Iraq and Syria

Five Syria-linked jihadist groups - including the The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) - have been banned in the UK by MPs.

Security minister James Brokenshire set out the motion, which was passed unopposed in the House of Commons on Thursday.

It will now be an offence to be a member of any of the groups in the UK.

Mr Brokenshire said terrorists from or connected to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq posed a threat to the UK security.

The list of proscribed organisations includes ISIS, whose fighters are known to have been involved in conflicts in both countries.

The four other groups to be banned are: Turkiye Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi (THKP-C); Kateeba al-Kawthar (KaK); Abdallah Azzam Brigades, including the Ziyad al-Jarrah Battalions (AAB/ZJB); and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC).

Mr Brokenshire said that Syria was the "number one destination" for jihadists anywhere in the world, and added that by banning these groups it sent a "strong message that terrorist activity is not tolerated wherever it happens".

'Gravest threat'

He said: "The reality is that the Syria conflict has seen a proliferation of terrorist groups with multiple aims and ideologies and little regard for international borders. For example in the last week we have seen significantly increased violent activity in Iraq by ISIS."

Downing Street said on Wednesday that 65 people had been arrested in the past 18 months for Syria-related jihadist activities.

And between 2001 and the end of March 2013, 32 people were charged with proscription offences as a primary offence in the UK, of which 16 were convicted.

The motion was welcomed by Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, who said more work needed to be done with internet service providers to ensure content related to the banned organisations was taken down.

He said: "We face our gravest threat in the last 13 years and the government is right to bring before the House a number of orders proscribing organisations which they feel undermine the security of this country."

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