TEHRAN (FNA)- Over 700 Salafi Bosnians have flied to Syria from Sarajevo to join the rebel groups fighting against the Damascus government, sources said.
“The Salafi fighters who were transferred to Syria by Sarajevo-Istanbul airline have joined the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and the Islamic Emirate of Syria terrorist groups,” a source told FNA.
“52 of these Salafis have been killed in different parts of Syria by now. Nine of the Bosnian rebels were recently killed in Hasakah region,” he added.
Earlier this year, the EU’s anti-terror chief said that hundreds of Europeans are now fighting with rebel forces in Syria against Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Gilles de Kerchove estimated the number in Syria at about 500.
Intelligence agencies are concerned some could join groups linked to al-Qaeda and later return to Europe to launch terrorist attacks.
The UK, Ireland and France are among the EU countries estimated to have the highest numbers of fighters in Syria.
“Not all of them are radical when they leave, but most likely many of them will be radicalized there, will be trained,” Mr. de Kerchove said.
“And as we’ve seen this might lead to a serious threat when they get back. ”
Across Europe, intelligence agencies have stepped up investigations, says the BBC’s Europe correspondent Duncan Crawford.
In Britain and Belgium they have increased efforts to track how people are recruited.
In the Netherlands, officials have raised the terror threat level there to “substantial” – partly over concerns about radicalized citizens returning from Syria.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against the Syrian police, border guards, statesmen, army and civilians being reported across the country.
Thousands of people have been killed since terrorist and armed groups turned protest rallies into armed clashes.
The government blames outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups for the deaths, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.
In October 2011, calm was almost restored in most parts of the Arab state after President Assad started a reform initiative in the country, but Israel, the US and its Arab allies brought the country into chaos through every possible means. Tel Aviv, Washington and some Arab capitals have been staging various plots in the hope of increasing unrests in Syria.
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