Militant extremists fighting against the Syrian government could pose a threat to Europe, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned.
Hague made the remarks
at the opening of the Manama Dialog on security on Friday, just weeks ahead of an international peace conference on Syria.
The warning comes as a fierce battle is underway between the Syrian army and al-Qaeda affiliated groups, whose ranks have been swollen by an influx of thousands of foreign militants in recent months.
Hague expressed concern over the prolonged war in the Arab country, saying if the conflict continues, the growing extremism could create “ungoverned space in the heart of the Middle East”.
“Syria’s neighbors would be in the frontline of such a catastrophic deterioration in the conflict. But it would pose a serious potential threat to security in other parts of the world, including in Europe,” He added.
Britain has played a major role in fanning the flames of unrest in the Arab country by arming and training militants fighting against the Syrian government.
Earlier in March, when lifting arms embargo on Syria militants came into focus, Britain had lobbied vigorously to lift the EU embargo on arms shipments to Syria.
British Prime Minster David Cameron even threatened to veto the vote to extend the embargo, saying the UK could go it alone to supply weapons to the insurgents in the Arab country if other EU member states refuse to lift the measure.
The UK has reportedly sent around 8 million pounds worth of equipment to insurgents fighting to topple the Syrian government.
Earlier last week, intelligence sources told The Telegraph
that Britons make up the largest contingent of militants from Western countries fighting against the government of President Assad.
From among the 1,000 Westerners fighting with different militant groups in Syria over 300 are British nationals, intelligence officials said.
On December 5, France and Belgium warned that European nationals, who fight alongside foreign-backed militants against the Syrian government, could pose a potential threat to the European Union and its allies.