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Arrested Syria fighters face court

More than 60 suspected extremists arrested after returning to the UK from fighting alongside Islamic State (IS) could be "brought before the courts", the Defence Secretary has said.

Michael Fallon said the Government had "toughened up" measures against those who had travelled to Syria to fight with militant group, also known as Isil, and suggested prosecutions were being prepared.

He told BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend: "Over 60 returning fighters have now been arrested and some of those will be brought before the courts.

"Going abroad and fighting with Isil - Isil is a proscribed organisation so these people are guilty of a criminal offence. And if we can get them into the courts on their return that's what we will do. We have to put evidence before the court and that's what is going on now.

The latest figures available from the Metropolitan Police suggest officers have so far made 69 Syria-related arrests in the first half of this year.

A Met spokesman said: "The latest set of Syria related arrest figures show that between April and June 2014 a total of 29 arrests were made across the UK. Syria related arrests include alleged offences such as terrorist financing, preparation of acts to commit terrorism and attending a terrorist training camp.

"A national campaign was launched on April 24, at the beginning of the second quarter, warning about the dangers of travelling to Syria but it is too early to say categorically whether this has affected the number of arrests.

"Police have recorded 25 Syria related arrests for the whole of 2013 compared to 69 arrests for the first half of 2014 demonstrating a significant rise."

It comes as Home Secretary Theresa May, in a newspaper interview at the weekend, said new legislation to tackle the issue could be imminent.

"I would expect to be able to bring legislation before the end of November," she said.

"We're still looking at what action can be taken in relation to the disruption of those returning to the UK."

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