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Assad Hands ‘Kill List’ of Hundreds of ISIS Fighters to British MPs | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Syrians gather at the scene of a double bombing attack on June 11, 2016 outside the Sayyeda Zeinab shrine, some ten kilometers south of the center of Damascus. AFP

London-A “kill list” of hundreds of foreign-born ISIS militants, including more than 20 Britons, has been drawn up by the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar Assad, and handed to two Conservative MPs who were invited to visit the tyrant in Damascus in the spring, a British daily reported.

The Sunday Telegraph aid a dossier of the British militants contained on a computer disc has been obtained by this newspaper.

The list targets for assassination 25 Britons whom the Assad regime accuses of joining ISIS. Fourteen on the list have already been killed including two of a trio of named brothers from Brighton who travelled to Syria two years ago have been killed by Syrian forces.

Eleven more jihadists are thought to be still alive, among them five women, including Khadijah Dare, who is accused by Assad of being the first Western female foreign militant to join ISIS.

Also on the list is Sally Jones, a Muslim convert and mother-of-two who is thought to have taken one of her children to Syria, and two teenage twin school girls from Manchester.

Two brothers from Cardiff and a group of young men from Portsmouth are also on the list along with Jihadi John, the ISIS executioner of a number of Western hostages.

The “kill list” is accompanied by propaganda DVDs which were handed over to David Davis, the former shadow home affairs spokesman, and his Conservative colleague Adam Holloway.

The list itself is written in Arabic but the videos are narrated in English. “This film showcases samples of those criminals who perpetrated the most atrocious crimes against the Syrian people,” according to introduction to the videos, adding: “They are random samples possessed by the Syrian state amongst tens of thousands in the private archive of those international murderers.”

The Syrian regime also accused a notorious hate preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed of radicalizing young Britons and encouraging them to fight in Syria.

Omar Bakri, who was born in Syria, established a large network of Islamists in the UK before being forced into exile in Lebanon a decade ago. Omar Bakri is currently in jail in Lebanon having been convicted of terrorism offences there.

The newspaper said that the UK has its own list of targets and the disclosure of an Assad “kill list” will raise speculation that, through back channels at least, the two countries may even be sharing some intelligence.

The UK and U.S. governments have sanctioned drone attacks on a number of British ISIS militants including Mohammed Emwazi, the real identity of Jihadi John, who was killed by a U.S. military strike in November, and Reyaad Khan, 21 from Cardiff, who was killed in an “act of self-defense” in an RAF “precision air strike” in September last year. Junaid Hussain, 21, a computer hacker from Birmingham, was also killed in a drone strikes by U.S. military.

Professor Anthony Glees, director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at Buckingham University, said: “The real significance of this list is that it shows how hard Assad is trying to establish the credentials of his government while at the same time adding to David Cameron’s security headache in the region.

“Although these British (terrorist) names are well known to our own security services, the value of the intelligence will be details of aliases, or other information, which they might be using to return to the UK and plan terrorist attacks here.

“Assad is seeking to curry favor with the British government and, with his Russian backers (whose own security services may have contributed to the list), hopes to extend an olive branch of sorts to the West. With Putin on his side it’s not easy to predict an early departure for the Syrian leader.”

The Assad “kill list” was handed over to the British delegation seemingly as propaganda to show the Syrian regime was committed to fighting ISIS terrorists who have been threatening the West.

But security sources said that it was very unlikely that there was any intelligence sharing with the Assad regime as the situation in country was “too chaotic.”

Elements of the list appear chaotic and not up to date. The true identity of Jihadi John was not known at the time the “kill list” was compiled and the Assad regime was not aware of his actual name.

Davis said of his visit in April: “What we got from the government was a mixture of propaganda and self-delusion, mixed together with some hard facts. An example of the self-delusion arose whenever we talked about their civil war. ‘It is not a civil war,’ they insisted, ‘We are being attacked by foreign fighters and enemy states’.” Davis added: ‘Well, up to a point.

The only jihadist group that is led and dominated by foreign militants is ISIS. The others may in part be acting as proxies for countries in the region, but they are predominantly Syrian people led by Syrian commanders, at least in the country itself. But to recognize that those Syrians had a grievance against the state, which the Syrian State refuses to do.”

Among the 850 foreign fighters on the list is a German rapper dubbed ‘the Goebbels of ISIS’ who publicly threatened U.S. President Barack Obama. Denis Cuspert, also known by his artist name Deso Dogg, used to rap in Berlin and was one of the most high-profile Western fighters for ISIS.

He was killed in October last year. The Chechen killer Omar al-Shishani, a senior ISIS commander, is among many well-known terrorists who the Syrians have placed on the list. There are conflicting reports as to whether he is alive.