Syria threats on the rise warns Britain’s top military chief

ISIS and other warring factions represent a growing danger, according to General Nick Carter

epa08035142 Police forensic officers working near the crime scene at London Bridge in London, Britain, 30 November 2019. At least two members of the public have died and a male suspect has been shot dead by police at a scene on 29 November after a stabbing at London Bridge.  EPA/VICKIE FLORES
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The British Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, has said that ISIS “has absolutely not” been defeated as he warned against complacency over the threats emanating from the conflict in Syria.

The general warned that the situation in Syria could worsen, calling it "a tinder box that could easily ignite a wider conflagration", before warning that there were more than 1,000 armed groups fighting there all with different agendas.

A week after ISIS claimed as one of their own a knifeman who went on a killing spree by London Bridge killing two university graduates,  Gen Carter said very different groups with very different agendas were proliferating the threat from terrorism.

While the terrorist threat level for the UK was lowered in the UK in November from severe to substantial, Gen Carter appeared to suggest the assessment could move to a higher level.

“[ISIS], and the extremist ideas it represents, has absolutely not been defeated – indeed the threat from terrorism has proliferated, as was sadly demonstrated once again in last Friday’s attack at London Bridge.”

He also warned that the conditions in some parts of the world, such as some countries in the Sahel, were not conducive to reducing extremism.

After almost five years of fighting, in March, US-backed Kurdish force said ISIS had been driven out of its last force in Baghouz, eastern Syria. But since then US forces pulled out of northern Syria and Turkey launched an incursion into the region, leading to hundreds of ISIS fighters escaping from prisons.

He added that the world going through a period of “phenomenal change” and called for an overhaul of military strategy to best fight new challenges brought about by rapid advancements in technology.

"Modernising will only get us so far – what is needed is a step-change in how we fight, in how we run the business, in how we develop our talent, in how we acquire our equipment, and in how we provide support – this requires transformation,” he added.

"As we enter the fourth Industrial Revolution, it is the same challenge and opportunity that faced our predecessors as they went from sail to steam."