[QODLink]
Middle East

Move to curb foreign fighters in Syria

Officials of at least seven countries are to meet in attempt to stop their young citizens from fighting in Syria's war.

Last updated: 24 Apr 2014 21:24
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Delegates from several European countries and the United States, Turkey, Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia are to meet next month to discuss ways to stop young fighters from leaving their countries to join rebel groups in Syria, Belgium says.

Joelle Milquet, Belgium's interior minister, said on Thursday that Brussels, which took steps last year to address the problem, wants to increase cooperation with European and other partners.

"Coping with the return [of fighters], that is our main concern," Milquet said, pointing to the presence of al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria.

The European Union warned earlier this year that the number of young Europeans going to fight in Syria and countries like Somalia and Sudan was growing.

EU leaders fear that those who fight in conflicts abroad will return home radicalised and trained in guerrilla tactics and will pose a security risk.

Milquet set up an informal ministerial group with France last year, bringing together officials from Britain, the Netherlands and Spain. The group later met with officials from the US, Canada and Australia. 

Milquet said the next meeting, scheduled for May 8, would bring together nine European countries in Brussels.

Turkey, Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia were also invited to attend the discussions.

Other efforts

Both France and England recently announced plans to prevent their citizens from leaving home to fight in Syria's war.

France on Wednesday said it would start to implement 20 measures to deal with the problem.

"France will take all measures to dissuade, prevent and punish those who are tempted to fight where they have no reason to be," Francois Hollande, France's president, told reporters on Tuesday.

Laurent Fabius, the country's foreign minister, estimated that the number of French nationals involved in Syria's conflict was around 500.

In the UK, police said they would appeal to Muslim women to help persuade young people not to fight in the war.

Hundreds of Britons are thought to have joined rebel forces who are fighting Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad.

323

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
Growing poverty is strengthening a trend among UK Muslims to fund charitable work closer to home.
join our mailing list