There is now a risk that extremists in Syria could take advantage of the country’s instability to plot attacks against Western targets, according to an annual report from a British intelligence committee released Wednesday.
"Large numbers of radicalized individuals have been attracted to the country, including significant numbers from the UK and Europe," the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee said, according to The Independent. "They are likely to acquire expertise and experience which could significantly increase the threat posed when they return home.”
The committee also said that there is a “serious concern” about the stockpiles of weapons that President Bashar Assad has amassed, which are believed to include sarin, ricin and mustard gas.
"There has to be a significant risk that some of the country's chemical weapons stockpile could fall into the hands of those with links to terrorism, in Syria or elsewhere in the region,” the report said. “If this happens, the consequences could be catastrophic."
Syrian rebels Wednesday rejected accusations from Russia that they used sarin gas in a deadly attack outside the city of Aleppo in March, the Associated Press reported.