West worries: Threat posed by militants in Syria begins to sink in

Security experts say thousands of foreign fighters – including 600 from Europe, North America, and Australia – have traveled to Syria to fight against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Anti-terrorism experts at a security conference in Aspen, Colorado said many of those fighters in Syria travel first to Turkey, where militant facilitators often link them up with specific groups, including the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front. The fighters are then armed by some Western and regional countries.

“The concern going forward from a threat perspective is there are individuals traveling to Syria, becoming further radicalized, becoming trained and then returning … to Western Europe and, potentially, to the United States,” Matthew G. Olsen, the director of the US National Counterterrorism Center told the conference.

“The scale of this is completely different from what we’ve experienced in the past,” Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union’s counterterrorism coordinator, said at the conference.

The issue has raised fears among American and European intelligence officials of a new threat of terrorism when the fighters return home. They say these people may return to the West with extremist sentiments.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011.

According to reports, the West and its regional allies, especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey – are supporting the militants inside Syria.

By Press TV


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