ISIS is spreading 'like a cancer' says Nato's top commander
- Terrorists are flowing into Europe among migrants, U.S. general says
- Philip Breedlove claims ISIS is 'spreading like a cancer' within this mix
- Russia's actions in Syria have 'wildly exacerbated the problem', he added
Terrorists, criminals and foreign fighters are flowing into Europe among migrants, the top Nato commander in Europe says.
U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove said the Islamic State extremist group is 'spreading like a cancer' within this mix, 'taking advantage of paths of least resistance, threatening European nations and our own'.
Breedlove, in a testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, said Russia's actions in Syria have 'wildly exacerbated the problem'.
Russia and Syrian President Bashar Assad, Breedlove said, are using migration as a weapon to overwhelm European support structures and break European resolve.
He cited the use of barrel bombs, which are unguided weapons and have no military value, against civilians in Syria.
The only purpose of these indiscriminate attacks is to terrorise Syrian citizens and 'get them on the road', Breedlove said.
In addition to the dangers posed by terrorists hiding among refugees, he warned that opposition from local nationalists in Europe to the large influx of migrants could lead to violence.
More than 27,000 refugees have been stranded in Greece after countries along the migrant route created a bottleneck by following Austria's lead in introducing limits on the number they will let pass.
For 19 miles along the boundary with Macedonia, the parallel lines of 8ft fencing keep thousands of migrants trapped in Greece.
On Tuesday, Austria and the Balkan countries refused to ease border restrictions that have led to the Greeks being sealed off from the rest of the Continent.
On Tuesday, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said border controls introduced through Europe were needed to end the 'disorganised chaos'. He warned that Austria would no longer be 'a waiting room for Germany'.
Troubled Greece is now set to be turned into a massive refugee camp as Brussels officials are on Wednesday expected to agree to hand over £375million to Athens in return for it providing shelter for 100,000 people.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel performed a major U-turn on Tuesday as she told migrants trying to leave Greece they could not choose which European country they move to and should stay there.