Yorkshire link with Islamic insurgency

Mark Sykes of Sledmere House.
Mark Sykes of Sledmere House.
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A link between Yorkshire and the aims of the Islamic State throughout the Middle East has been revealed.

The group responsible for the murders of British taxi driver Alan Henning and taking over swathes of land across Iraq and Syria plans to expand what they proclaim as The Caliphate.

One of the specific aims of ISIS is to overthrow the artificial boundaries of countries created at the stroke of a pencil by Mark Sykes, of the aristocratic family with estates between Driffield and Bridlington.

Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani al-Shami, a spokesperson for ISIS, has announced: “[The Islamic State] rejects the political divisions established by Western powers at the end of World War One in the Sykes–Picot Agreement as it 
absorbs territory in Syria and Iraq.”

The connection to Yorkshire took the clandestine form of a secret meeting held in 1915-16 during World War One, known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement involving British negotiator Mark Sykes of the stately Sledmere House, located near Bridlington and Driffield.

The aim of the agreement negotiated by Sykes was to divide up the Middle East into British and French controlled territories, but this could only be achieved with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Britain thought the Ottoman Empire would cripple its supply routes, so while Sykes was secretly dividing up borders, Army officer T.E. Lawrence was sent to convince the Arabs to fight against the Ottoman Empire in exchange for a huge chunk of present-day Syria.

However the British government never intended to honour the promise at all, and behind his back, Mark Sykes along with a French diplomat, were busy negotiating and drawing up maps.

T. E. Lawrence later moved to East Yorkshire, serving in the RAF at Bridlington. He died in a road accident in Dorset in the 1930s.