Dozens of British jihadists have fled Islamic State fanatics in Syria and are desperate to come home.
At least 30 fighters are known to have split from a unit near the terror group’s headquarters in Raqqa and are understood to have escaped north towards the border with Turkey.
Many of the young men travelled to the Middle East to fight Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s regime but instead became caught up in gun battles between warring rebel groups.
One jihadist , who claimed to represent the Brits, contacted an intermediary and begged to return after they were shocked by the beheading of Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
He told researchers at King’s College London, that fighters feared prison at home or death at the hands of the IS thugs, who also threatened to kill British aid worker David Haines.
Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the university’s International Centre for Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, said the men were “between a rock and a hard place”.
He called on the Government to address the problem immediately.
Mr Maher said: “This is a defining moment for the Government on the issue of British jihadists .
“We must address the fact that some young men have been caught up in a war not of their choosing and if they are allowed to return, they could become an extremely powerful tool in the fight against the Islamic State.
“We must use this opportunity before these men are faced with no alternative than to stay in Syria and fight.”