British spy chief says Islamic State plotting attacks as Russia makes ‘desert’ of Syria

In a rare speech, the head of Britain’s spy network says Islamic State are plotting attacks as Russia makes ‘desert’ of Syria.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (REUTERS) – Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria are plotting attacks against the United Kingdom and her allies as Russia tries to destroy President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents by making a desert out of the country, Britain’s foreign intelligence chief said on Thursday (December 8).

In his first major public speech since winning the top job at the Secret Intelligence Service in 2014, Alex Younger said the United Kingdom was facing an unprecedented threat from terrorism including 12 foiled plots since June 2013.

“As I speak, the highly organised external attack planning structures within Daesh (IS), even as they face military threat, are plotting ways to project violence against the UK and our allies without ever having to leave Syria,” Younger said at MI6’s Vauxhall Cross headquarters in central London.

Younger said Russia and Assad were preventing victory over Islamic State and the end to the civil war by casting all opponents of Assad as terrorists.

He said he had been repeatedly asked about the future of intelligence cooperation with the United States and EU powers since the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election.

“My answer is that I will aim for, and expect, continuity,” Younger, a career intelligence officer, said.

Britain’s spy service in fiction is one of the world’s best known brands, in the form of James Bond.

But Young said the reality is nothing like the Hollywood films.

“Were Mr Bond to apply to join MI6 now he would have to change his ways,” he said.