US intelligence officials today expressed concern about the growing threat of al-Qaeda groups inside Syria using the nation as a “launching pad” for attacks on the United States and elsewhere.
The particular concern is Americans who have gone to Syria to join al-Qaeda or other jihadist factions. Officials say “at least 50” Americans are on the ground in Syria among those groups.
Americans with US passports are a particular problem because they could return to the US seemingly act like nothing is wrong, but have established contacts with al-Qaeda leaders through years of operations in Syria.
The 50 Americans are just part of the problem, as others have estimated as many as 1,800 Europeans with EU passports among the 7,500-plus foreign fighters inside Syria, a level of overseas recruitment al-Qaeda hasn’t seen in years.
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