Dozens of Americans Sought to Join Syrian Rebels – Reports

Dozens of Americans Sought to Join Syrian Rebels – Reports
# 21 November 2013 20:18 (UTC +04:00)

The aspiring American fighters are among some 600 young Muslims holding Western passports that have streamed into Syria from Europe, North America and Australia to battle Assad’s forces since the conflict started in 2011, the New York Times reported on its website Wednesday evening, citing US intelligence officials.

That figure is a small percentage of the overall number of foreigners joining the Syrian rebels via the Middle East and North Africa, which the unidentified officials estimated at between 6,000 and 11,000, the Times reported.

Several of the US nationals, primarily radicalized Muslims, have successfully traveled to Syria to fight with the Syrian rebels, the Times reported. US authorities, however, have arrested several Americans accused of planning to travel to the war-torn nation to join the opposition forces, the Washington Post reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in June that up to 600 militants from Russia and Europe are fighting together with Syrian rebels against the government there. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told RIA Novosti in July that Moscow and Damascus are exchanging data about foreign rebels.

Russia has lent its diplomatic support to the Syrian government and has confirmed supplying weapons to Assad since the outbreak of civil strife in 2011. But it has never admitted to deploying any troops to fight in the Syrian conflict, which the UN estimates has cost more than 100,000 lives so far.

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