LONDON - Britain's top counter-terrorism police officer said on Tuesday arrests linked to fighting in Syria had risen dramatically this year and that significant progress was being made to trace a British man suspected of murdering American journalist James Foley.

Launching an appeal to Muslim communities to help identify "aspiring terrorists", Mark Rowley, the National Policing Lead for Counter Terrorism, said Britain had been escalating its efforts to address rising terrorism problems relating to Syria.

"There is a lot at stake," Rowley said in a statement. "High priority operations, especially against those involved in attack planning or on the cusp have increased greatly."

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