Paris Concerned about Number of French Nationals Fighting in Syria
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The French Interior Minister Manuel Valls revealed that hundreds of home-grown militants were signing up to fight in Syria, and warned they could pose a security threat when they return to France.
An estimated 130 radicalized French nationals or residents are in Syria fighting to overthrow the Syrian government, Valls said on Thursday, a statistic he called “worrying” for French national security.
More than 300 French nationals or residents are either currently fighting in Syria's civil war, are known to have plans to go and fight, or have recently returned from Syria, Valls told France's Inter radio.
"This is a phenomenon which worries me because they represent a potential danger when they return to our soil," Valls said. "We have to be extremely attentive."
According to British defence consultancy IHS Jane's, up to 10,000 jihadists from all over the world are fighting alongside rebels in Syria as they try to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
Counter-terrorism officials fear that a chemical weapons attack near Damascus on August 21 could attract more radical Islamists to Syria, increasing the numbers of a new generation of militants capable of wreaking havoc when they return to their home countries, France 24 reported.