‘Unfortunately the British participation in the conflicts now raging in both Syria and Iraq has been one of full participation, one that has seen them at the front lines, taking part in the conflict in every way.
The mission to save the journalist and others was carried out in early July but was unsuccessful because the hostages - being held by a group of British jihadists known as ‘The Beatles’ - could not be found.
‘One of the reasons why what is going on in Syria and Iraq is a direct threat to our own national security is the presence of a significant number of our nationals who may, at some stage, seek to come back to the UK with the skills the trade craft that they have learned working with these terrorist organisations and potentially posing a threat to our domestic security here in the UK.
‘If the Islamic State, so called, becomes established in an area of Syria and Iraq, it will undoubtedly use it as a base for launching attacks on the West, it will undoubtedly send its fighters out to attack western targets.
‘I think it’s about 2,000 people,’ he added. ‘I said a couple of months ago about 1,500. I know there are people still going across. There are no effective controls by the UK Border Agency both on exit and return.
‘No one knows what is going on. There is a real threat to the UK. The Border Agency is not fit for purpose.’ Mr Mahmood said two jihadis had travelled to Syria from his own constituency last year but returned and were detained by the authorities.