With France and Britain leading the calls for international intervention in Syria, it is interesting to note that the European Union believes several hundred fighters from across Europe, but those two nations particularly, have gone to Syria to join the rebellion.
EU anti-terror chief Gilles de Kerchove estimated the overall number at about 500, and last month British officials put their own country’s “contribution” in excess of 100.
These aren’t the places you’d figure Syria’s rebels would be coming from (and they are dwarfed by the number from places like Libya), but even though their agenda of installing an Islamist government in Syria happens to be in lockstep with French and British goals, it’s not something officials are celebrating.
That’s because as we’ve seen time and again, rebel fighters don’t simply vanish after the war ends, and the EU could find these hundreds of battle-hardened fighters amassing experience and ties to al-Qaeda, another backer of the rebels, before returning to Europe with EU member citizenship and new targets.
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