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Home News Belgium, allies to tackle young Syria fighter concerns

Belgium, allies to tackle young Syria fighter concerns

Published on 24/04/2014

Several European countries plus the United States, Turkey, Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia are to discuss measures to stop young fighters joining rebels in Syria, Belgium said Thursday.

Interior Minister Joelle Milquet said Belgium, which took steps last year to address the problem, wants to step up cooperation with European partners and others.

“Coping with the return (of fighters), that is our main concern,” Milquet said, pointing to the presence of Al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria.

The European Union warned earlier this year that the number of young Europeans going to fight alongside extremist groups in Syria and countries such as Somalia and Sudan, was growing fast.

The fear is they will return home radicalised and well versed in the use of weapons and guerrilla tactics, posing a security risk.

Milquet set up an informal ministerial group with France last year, bringing together officials from Britain, the Netherlands and Spain. The group later met US, Canadian and Australian officials.

Milquet said the next meeting, bringing together nine European countries, would be held in Brussels May 8, with Syrian neighbour Turkey invited, together with Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia.