The Rise of British Jihadists in Syria
VICE News follow Amer Deghayes – a 20-year-old former student from Brighton – to the frontlines of Syria, where he joins in the "holy war" against President Bashir al-Assad
Britain's young Muslims are taking the fight against President Bashir al-Assad from UK towns to the frontlines of Syria. VICE News headed to the civil war-torn country to follow Amer Deghayes, a 20-year-old former student from Brighton, who joined the "holy war" against his father's wishes after carrying out extensive research online.
We joined Amer after the death of his 18-year-old brother Abdullah, who died in a fierce battle against Assad forces in northern Syria. Undeterred by the bloody and brutal conflict, Amer's 16-year-old brother Jaffer has since met up with him in Syria.
The UK is now attempting to combat, block, and remove thousands of items of "jihadist propaganda" from the internet in an attempt to deter Britons from taking up arms abroad. For Amer, the power of jihadist social media – which promotes stories of jihadi legend, martyrdom, and paradise – opened his eyes to the suffering of Muslims in Syria.
England is also now citing returning militants as "the biggest security threat to the United Kingdom." The government's position could leave Amer – and possibly thousands of unknown British fighters – stranded in increasingly fierce and bloody conflicts, and within the grasp of extremist jihadist groups.
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