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French Interior Ministry: 285 Islamists from France fight for Syrian militant groups

May 01, 2014, 10:53 UTC+3

In addition, some 120 people are on their way between France and Syria

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A soldier from the Syrian army stands near an office that was under the control of armed groups

A soldier from the Syrian army stands near an office that was under the control of armed groups


PARIS, May 1. /ITAR-TASS/. A significant number of French citizens are currently in Syria taking part in battle actions on the side of militant groups of Islamist radicals. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Wednesday that, according to the ministry’s data, there are 285 Frenchmen among Syrian militants. The minister announced this data at a session of parliamentary committee on legislation.

According to Cazeneuve, a special concern raises the substantial increase in the number of French Islamists in Syria in recent months. “The increase made 75% for 6 months,” the interior minister noted, adding that to date, the number of Frenchmen fighting for Syrian militants “is comparable to the amount of people from other European countries”. The minister also said that, according to available data, some 120 young men wishing to join the militants are currently on their way from France to Syria. About 100 people, who already have gone through the Syrian war, have returned to France, and another 25 Frenchmen died in battles, according to Cazeneuve.

The minister has said that in these days, a special hotline has been launched in France, where everyone can get a consultation and provide information about the possible dispatch to Syria of an acquainted or a relative. “The task is to mobilize all means to prevent them from departing,” the minister explained.

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