UK Spy Chief: Syrian conflict 'creating new terrorist threat'

UK Spy Chief: Syrian conflict 'creating new terrorist threat'
The head of MI6 made his first public speech in his role on Thursday warning that Russia and the Syrian regime's policy are 'alienating' people and creating new terrorist threats.
2 min read
08 December, 2016
Assad and Putin have been working together in the fight against the Syrian rebels [AFP]

The head of the UK's international secret intelligence service has warned of 'unprecedented' threats to Britain, created in part by the war in Syria.

Alex Younger told an invited audience at MI6 headquarters in Vauxhall, London on Thursday that the safety of Britain depended on a peaceful resolution by Russia and regime forces.

"In Aleppo, Russia and the Syrian regime seek to make a desert and call it peace," he said.

"In defining as a terrorist anyone who opposes a brutal government, they alienate precisely the group that has to be on side if the extremists are to be defeated.

"I cannot say with any certainty what the next year will bring; but I know this – we cannot be safe from the threats that emanate from the land unless the civil war is brought to an end."

Younger said Britain faced "unprecedented" threats and had already thwarted 12 terrorist plots since June 2013.

Speaking in non-specific terms which appear to be aimed at Russia, Younger said a technological threat came from states which tried to subvert democratic institutions.

The director of The United States' National Security Agency, Admiral Michael Rogers, indirectly accused Russia of hacking Hillary Clinton's emails on November 15.

"This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect."