American, European Jihadists in Syria Raise New Domestic Terror Fears
Wave of terror could result from training, expertise gained in fighting with al Qaeda rebels
by Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon via Creeping Sharia — 8/20/2013
Significant numbers of American and European jihadists are traveling to Syria to join Islamist rebels, prompting new fears of a future wave of al Qaeda terror attacks in the United States and Europe, according to U.S. officials.
|Syrian Jihadist Rebels in gun battle with Syrian Military in Aleppo. (AP)|
Several thousand foreign terrorists, as well as Americans, are joining the Islamist faction of the now-divided Syrian rebels battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Most are joining the al-Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s main terrorist group in Syria, along with smaller Islamist militias made up of nationals from more than a dozen foreign countries.
A U.S. official familiar with intelligence reports said the influx of Americans and Europeans to Islamist rebel forces in Syria is increasing the threat of future terrorists attacks here and in Europe.
“There’s a real concern in the U.S. government about what happens to these guys when they are done and they come home,” this official said. “Right now they are getting training to be al Qaeda terrorists.”
A spokesman for the National Counterterrorism Center had no immediate comment on the number of American jihadists estimated to be fighting in Syria.
Matthew G. Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said during a speech to the Aspen Security Forum last month that his centers major concern is the flow of foreign fighters to Syria.
“Syria has become really the predominant jihadist battlefield in the world,” Olsen said. “We see foreign fighters going from western Europe and, in some cases, in a small number of cases from the United States to Syria to fight as part of the opposition.”
Olsen said the security concern is that the fighters will become further radicalized and train end “then returning as part of really a global jihadist movement to western Europe and potentially to the United States.”