Home Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed he is asking officials to draw up an urgent case for introducing the new ban around Idlib province in northwestern Syria and others areas in the northeast of the country.
The move comes amid an upsurge in violence around Idlib in particular, where Russian-backed Syrian government forces have launched an offensive against rebel fighters.
On Friday, the United Nations warned of a “humanitarian crisis” and urged the Syrian and Russian governments to give assurances that the bombing of hospitals and schools would stop.
The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019, which became law earlier this year, created a new power allowing the home secretary to ban British nationals from travelling to – or remaining in – specific designated areas.
Mr Javid said: “I’ve asked my officials to work closely with the police and intelligence agencies to urgently review the case for exercising this power in relation to Syria, with a particular focus on Idlib and the northeast.
“So anyone who is in these areas without a legitimate reason should be on notice.”
In order to use the power, the home secretary would need to be satisfied that it is necessary to restrict UK nationals and residents from a specific area and his recommendation would need to be ratified by parliament.
An individual found to have entered or remained in a designated area could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
The new law was introduced to counter the problem of hundreds of foreign fighters heading off to overseas trouble spots, with little fear of prosecution.
Officials estimate more than 900 British citizens travelled out to take part in the conflict in Syria.
Around 400 have since returned, but difficulties in securing any evidence of wrongdoing in an area of lawlessness has meant less than 10% of those who have returned have been prosecuted.
Under the new law, prosecutors will only have to prove a person has been in a designated area without good reason.
There will be exemptions to the travel ban, allowing the likes of legitimate aid workers, journalists, or those attending a family funeral, to enter such areas.
Mr Javid will give more details of how he expects the new law to operate during a speech in central London on Monday morning, where he will also reassure his audience of extremism experts and security officials that, whatever Britain’s future relating to the EU is, the UK will continue to be a powerful international partner in dealing with security threats.
He is expected to say: “From terrorism, to crime, to hostile state activity, we are facing international problems, and they require an international response.
“As these threats become more global we all rely on an international system of defence, policing, security and intelligence. A safety net based upon cooperation, and unity.
“More than any other country on Earth, the UK has a coherent, connected approach to intelligence and security and when threats appear, the world still turns to the UK for leadership, support, and action.”
Despite the large scale dismantling of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, security officials warn the UK terror threat will continue to be very significant for the foreseeable future.
The recent bombings in Sri Lanka, which have been linked to IS, and the reappearance of the group’s leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, have shown that the fragmentation of the terror network has not weakened its determination to launch attacks around the globe.
US has imposed sanctions on Iran’s central bank after drone attacks in Saudi Arabia, says Trump | US News
President Donald Trump says the US has imposed sanctions on Iran’s central bank following last weekend’s attacks on Saudi oil facilities.
Speaking in the Oval Office on Friday during a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the US leader said: “We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank.”
He did not give any other details about the sanctions.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that the bank was Tehran’s last source of funds.
When Mr Trump was asked about the possibility of a military response on Iran, he said that a military strike was always a possibility and that the US was prepared.
Evacuation Of Nigerians Has Discouraged Tourists, Others To South Africa, Says Air Peace Boss
Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, has said that the evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa had led to a drastic reduction of tourists and air travellers to that country.
Onyema made the statement in Lagos on Wednesday evening while speaking with journalists during the arrival of the second batch of Nigerians evacuated from the former apartheid nation in the wake of latest xenophobic attacks on African migrants.
In total, 315 Nigerians returned from South Africa aboard Air Peace, bringing the total number of returnees to 493 out of over 600, who expressed their desire to return home following the latest xenophobic attacks.
The first batch had landed in the country last Wednesday with 178 returning with the Air Peace aircraft that airlifted them from South Africa.
Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, was on the ground to receive the returnees including a representative of the Lagos State Government.
Nigeria’s Muhammad-Bande finally takes over as UN President
The ceremony, held inside the General Assembly Hall of the UN headquarters in New York, marked the end of the 73rd session .
The 74th session will formally begin on Tuesday with the inauguration of Muhammad-Bande, who is the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN.
The handover ceremony was witnessed by top officials of the UN led by the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.
Nigerian officials, including a presidential team, comprising the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Mr Ahmed Abubakar, and presidential spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu, also witnessed the ceremony, NAN reports
In a short address, Guterres lauded Espinosa for her strong leadership, describing her as a “champion for multilateralism”, who made the UN “relevant to all”.
“I commend her ambitious priorities for this session, which addressed crucial matters of international impact and concern.
“These include gender equality, migration and refugees, decent work for all, environmental protection, the rights of people with disabilities, promoting the voices of young people to advance peace and security, and revitalising the work of the United Nations.
“The commitment of Espinosa to the environment especially ending plastic pollution also stands out,” he said.
The UN chief said he looked forward to working with Muhammad-Bande to advance the organisation’s mission of building more peaceful and prosperous world.
Earlier in a valedictory press conference, Espinosa said she was satisfied with her achievements within her one-year tenure.
She said her practice of formally reporting back to member states every three months, was very useful, especially for the smaller missions that could cover all the agenda items.
Espinosa said during the 73rd Session, no fewer than 341 resolutions were adopted, making it the highest number in several years.
She reiterated her call on member states to “read the resolutions we have adopted again and let´s deliver and implement them using this norm-setting power of the General Assembly”, she said.
Espinosa is the fourth woman to hold the office of the President of the General Assembly.
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