Terrorism

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Syria. There have been many terrorist attacks across Syria including in major cities, resulting in large numbers of casualties. There are a number of terrorist groups that operate in Syria, including Daesh and Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (formerly known as Jabhat Fatah al Sham / Al Nusrah Front).

These groups target a wide range of places, including official installations, airports, border crossings, public transport and civilian spaces like public squares, hospitals, places of worship and learning institutions.

Methods of attack have included shootings, bombings, suicide bombs and vehicle bombs. Terrorist groups have also claimed responsibility for kidnappings in Syria.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria.

Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.

If you travel to Syria to fight, and your activities amount to offences against UK terrorism legislation, you could be prosecuted on return to the UK.

Kidnapping

There is a very high threat of kidnapping throughout Syria. Kidnappings can be for financial or political gain, and can be motivated by criminality or terrorism. There have been a number of kidnappings, including of British nationals and other westerners. Some hostages have been killed.

Terrorist groups operating in Syria routinely use kidnapping as a tactic. Westerners continue to be targeted and any western presence in Syria would be at high risk. Many terrorists in Syria view those engaged in humanitarian aid work or journalism as legitimate targets. If you’re detained by a terrorist group, there’s no guarantee that explaining the reason for your presence in Syria will serve as protection or secure your safe release.

The long standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage-taking.

Many thousands of people have been arbitrarily detained in regime-held areas, and in many cases tortured and executed, as documented by the United Nations and Non-Governmental Organisations.