The longer Syria's conflict goes on, the greater the risk it will breed a new generation of battle-hardened militants who will pose a threat to Britain and other countries in Europe, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Thursday.
Hague aimed his comments at Russia, which has had its own problems with attacks by Islamist militants, and has along with China repeatedly blocked U.N. Security Council action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Assad is locked in an almost two-year war with rebels that has killed nearly 70,000 people and has become a magnet for foreign jihadists intent on replacing Assad's mostly secular rule with a radical Islamic state.
Hague said Britain had not lost faith in the Arab Spring revolutions that in the last two years have deposed four autocratic leaders, but warned that Syria was the most acute case of the movement being "hijacked" by militants.
Hague, in a speech outlining British counter-terrorism strategy, labelled Syria the "number one destination for jihadists anywhere in the world today".