06:13 GMT +323 October 2019
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    A warplane comes in to land after completed a mission at Britain's Royal Air Force Base.

    'UK Airstrikes in Syria Risk Turning Europeans Into Extremists'

    © AP Photo / Petros Karadjias
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    Proposed British airstrikes on the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria risk breeding more homegrown extremists in Europe, a policy director at the Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) advocacy group told Sputnik on Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko – British Prime Minister David Cameron set out a case for an air campaign in Syria to the UK parliament on Thursday, seeking support from lawmakers opposed to extending the country’s air campaign from Iraq into Syria.

    "Given that the majority of those individuals who carried out the Paris attacks in Europe and had links in Syria have been European-born, and have already been raised in Europe, the question is are we just turning Europeans into extremists," Iain Overton said.

    Latest think-tank estimates say a quarter of an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 fighters who have arrived in Iraq and Syria to fight alongside the ISIL came from Europe and Turkey.

    The ISIL claimed responsibility for the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 and injured 350 people. The deadliest attack on French soil set off a Europe-wide manhunt for alleged accomplices and agreement among key EU leaders to strengthen their anti-ISIL mission in Syria.

    AOAV’s Overton further raised the prospect of rebel groups turning undetonated bombs dropped by the UK forces into explosive devices.

    "We have seen repeatedly…Syrian rebel forces dismantling European-made or American-made weaponry and turning into improvised explosive devices and suicide bombs," he observed.

    Despite Cameron’s pledge to use "some of the most accurate weapons known to man" in the airstrikes, AOAV contends that civilian casualties are an inevitability, citing 3,165 civilian deaths from US-led coalition's airstrikes in the first eight months of 2015.

    British lawmakers are reportedly scheduled to vote on the Syrian air mission next week.


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