21 June 2014
Last updated at 05:32
The father of a British man who has appeared in a video aimed at recruiting jihadists has said he is “heartbroken” his son left the UK to fight in Syria.
In the film, would-be medical student Nasser Muthana, 20, from Cardiff, urges others to fight in Syria and Iraq.
His father, Ahmed Muthana, told the BBC his other son had gone with Nasser, and that someone must be “driving” them.
UK police are trying to get the film, posted by accounts linked to Islamist militant group Isis, taken off-line.
The 13-minute video, entitled “There is No Life Without Jihad”, emerged on Friday and appears to show six fighters – apparently including three Britons – urging Muslims to join the conflicts abroad.
Nasser Muthana’s family said they were “heartbroken” he had gone to Syria
An estimated 400-500 UK fighters have been recruited by the now-outlawed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), which has a significant presence in Syria and is engaged in fierce fighting with Iraqi government forces.
The BBC has learned that tracking British jihadists fighting in Syria is now the top priority for MI5.
Mr Muthana – whose son Nasser appears in the footage using the name Abu Muthanna al-Yemen – told BBC Wales that he feared his sons would “come back to me in a coffin”.
He told the BBC his 17-year-old younger son, Aseel, had also travelled to Syria and that another man in the video was someone he recognised from Cardiff.
Asked about the video in which Nasser appears, he said: “I’m sad that he’s gone without telling me he’s going. He disappeared and when I saw it on the television, I thought ‘what is he doing there’?”
He described his son – who had been offered places by four universities to study medicine – as quiet, well-educated and intelligent.
Nasser had left home in November, saying he was going to Leicester or Shrewsbury to study, said Mr Muthana.
“I received a phone call saying that he’s in Turkey and that’s it.” He said he feared his son had now been radicalised.
“I don’t think that’s Nasser talking, it’s someone else is teaching him to talk like this because the attitude of Nasser is 100% completely different,” he said.
“Who led them to go there?.. Is he going to kill or do anything?
“Someone is driving those kids to do this problem.”
The video cannot be verified, but BBC correspondent Paul Adams said it was probably filmed in Syria.
The footage emerged after Isis militants made rapid advances through Iraq in recent weeks, seizing several northern cities and surrounding the country’s biggest refinery.
Prime Minister David Cameron has said its fighters are plotting terror attacks on the UK.
Isis in Iraq
The rebels now control the northern cities of Mosul and Tikrit
Isis grew out of an al-Qaeda-linked organisation in Iraq
- Estimated 10,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria
- Joined in its offensives by other Sunni militant groups, including Saddam-era officers and soldiers, and disaffected Sunni tribal fighters
- Exploits standoff between Iraqi government and the minority Sunni Arab community, which complains that Shia Prime Minister Nouri Maliki is monopolising power
- Led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an obscure figure regarded as a battlefield commander and tactician
Jihadi groups around the world
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said MI5 was having to prioritise the greatest amount of its casework on tracking British jihadists in Syria.
On Thursday, the UK government “proscribed” five Syria-linked jihadist groups – including Isis – making it a criminal offence to associate with it or give it financial backing.
The Home Office said it wanted to “further restrict access to terrorist material” and use “family-friendly filters” to block other extremist content.
A report by the government’s extremism taskforce, carried out after the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, said it would work with internet companies to “restrict access to terrorist material online which is hosted overseas but illegal under UK law”.
A spokesman for the Internet Services Providers’ Association, which describes itself as the trade body for the UK’s internet industry, told the BBC this was “a very tricky area”.
There would be two ways to remove the video, he said – either by asking every company hosting it to take it down, or by asking filtering companies to add it to their web filters.
The spokesman added that the Home Office had been looking at this “for a while now”.
Twitter said it had guidelines for authorities to request information about individual accounts, as well as rules on “potentially sensitive content”.