The whereabouts of hundreds of Muslim British citizens who travelled to the Middle East to support or fight for terror groups is unknown, the security minister has admitted.
Around half of the estimated 850 Muslim terrorists from the UK who went to Syria and Iraq have returned home, but security minister Ben Wallace said the Government ‘don’t know where’ those still in the region are.
Many have been killed in fighting, some are returning to Turkey, but it is unclear whether others are now living, he admitted.
Wallace denied that the authorities had ‘lost track’ of the terrorists, adding: ‘They went into a very hard part of Syria to reach into the Euphrates valley and then were dispersed from there.’
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘What we do know is about half have come back to the United Kingdom of the original 850-odd that went out of concern.
‘About 15% to 20% we think have died out there either in military action, and at the moment we are seeing in dribs and drabs some of them coming into Turkey, maybe some of them trying to get back to us here, but there’s a significant number that at the moment it is hard to actually tie down exactly where they are.’
British Muslim terrorists have been among the most high profile members of the terror group, whose influence in the Middle East is now dwindling.