U.K.-based Sky News has released a video of a brigade of British jihadists fighting in Syria. According to the interviewed jihadists, private funds from the U.K. are the largest source of funding for jihadist fighters, and hundreds of fighters from Britain have traveled to Syria to fight against Assad.
In the video, the British jihadists claim that they only intend to fight Assad and have no plans of returning to the U.K. to wage jihad. They also reject being labeled as terrorists.
Earlier this month, European security officials said that the number of Europeans fighting in Syria against Assad was increasing.
That the British jihadists in the video claim that they have no interest in waging jihad in the U.K. is unlikely to reassure British authorities, who have already arrested men who have returned to the U.K. from Syria.
It shouldn't be surprising if there is increased coverage of the number of foreigners fighting with Islamic groups within Assad's opposition if the Western-backed Free Syrian Army continues to lose ground to the Islamic Front, a group that welcomes foreign fighters and despite its unpleasant goal (the establishment of an Islamic state in Syria) is becoming more important to the Obama administration's pursuit of a diplomatic solution to the Syrian civil war. According to The Daily Beast's Jamie Dettmer, the Islamic Front has fought with jihadists before.
Although American diplomats were willing to talk to the Islamic Front, it was reported today that the Islamic Front refused to talk to U.S. representatives.
To give an idea of the sort of people involved with the Islamic Front, here are some of the thoughts of the Islamic Front's military chief, as reported by Foreign Policy:
Zahran Alloush, the Islamic Front's military chief, has demonized Syria's Alawite minority and called for them to be cleansed from Damascus. As he put it in a recent video: "The jihadists will wash the filth of the rafida [a slur used to describe Shia] from Greater Syria, they will wash it forever, if Allah wills it."
More from Reason.com on Syria here.