Sajid Javid to warn Britons could be banned from Syria under new counter-terror law

Posted On: 
20th May 2019

Sajid Javid is set to announce that he could use new powers to ban British nationals from travelling to Syria.

Mr Javid is expected to address senior security officials on Monday
PA Images

Speaking to senior security officials on Monday, the Home Secretary is expected to warn that a new counter-terrorism act could ban Britons from heading to the war-torn country or face up to 10 years in prison.

Mr Javid - who is thought to be considering a run for the Conservative leadership when Theresa May steps down - will say that UK citizens without good reason should be “on notice” for travelling, or remaining, in certain areas.

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The move comes as British nationals who have joined terror group Islamic State (IS) in Syria have sought to return to the UK.

Mr Javid is expected to say: "I've asked my officials to work closely with the police and intelligence agencies to urgently review the case for exercising this power in relation to Syria, with a particular focus on Idlib and the north east.

"So anyone who is in these areas without a legitimate reason should be on notice."

He will add that the police and security services "have worked tirelessly" to identify people attempting to join IS abroad and prevent them from leaving the country.

In February, the Cabinet minister told the Commons that 900 Britons were estimated to have joined IS in Syria and Iraq.

About 40% of them are believed to still be in the region, while a further 40% to have returned to the UK and 20% to have been killed in battle.

The issue rose to prominence earlier this year over the case of Shamima Begum, who has been stripped of her British citizenship after pleading to return to the UK.

In his speech, Mr Javid also stress the importance of international co-operation in fighting terrorism.

"As these threats become more global we all rely on an international system of defence, policing, security and intelligence - a safety net based upon co-operation and unity," he will say.

"These structures rely upon free, democratic nations to pool information, coordinate law enforcement action and surrender suspected criminals across borders.

"More than any other country on Earth, the UK has a coherent, connected approach to intelligence and security and when threats appear, the world still turns to the UK for leadership, support, and action."