Tunisia alerted; Extremists head back home from Syria
Tunisian Foreign Minister Mongi Hamdi has announced that some 400 Tunisian militants affiliated with extremist groups have returned home from Syria.
While it was not possible to arrest them, the minister said, local security forces are monitoring them closely since they received combat training abroad and subscribe to a radical ideology.
Hamdi made these statements during a meeting of defense establishment officials, who were discussing ways in which to cope with terrorist threats.
The militants’ return from Syria to their countries of origin, whether these countries are Arab or European, has become an issue of concern to security agencies and intelligence communities in those countries.
They fear that the returnees will establish sleeper cells in their homelands that could strike targets at short notice.
A large number of foreign militants have infiltrated Syria, mostly through Turkish borders, to change the government.
Tunisia has been one of the countries that have had not only men joining the war, but also many girls joining what they call Jihad al-Nikah, for marring the militants.
In August 2013, Tunisian general director of the public security service, Mostafa Bin Omar, said a “sexual Jihad cell” was broken up in an area west of the country where al-Qaeda militants holed up.
Bin Omar told reporters that al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar Shariah was using minor girls, dressed in the full face cover to offer sexual services for male terrorists.
Syria sank into war in March 2011 when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.
The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.