American, European Jihadists in Syria Raise New Domestic Terror Fears

We’ve been warned time and time again that thousands upon thousands are already here.

Wave of terror could result from training, expertise gained in fighting with al Qaeda rebels

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.”

U.S. intelligence estimates put the number of foreign fighters in Syria at up to 6,000 people, of which around 17 percent are thought to be from outside the region.

For many, the fighting is the first experience of putting their radical Islamic faith into action on the battlefield, the officials said.

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.”

According to the officials, most of the western jihadists are either Muslim immigrants or converts.

Full article: American, European Jihadists in Syria Raise New Domestic Terror Fears (Washington Free Beacon)

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