Four people suspected of helping recruit jihadists to fight in Syria were arrested in the Paris region and the south of France on Monday morning, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has told Europe 1 radio.
The fear of U.S. and European security officials that Syria is becoming a training ground for homegrown jihadists has received another confirmation. French police on Friday arrested a French jihadist from Syria suspected in the bloody attack on a Jewish museum in Brussels last month.
A Belgian prosecutor said Sunday that Mehdi Nemmouche was arrested in Marseille while in possession of firearms, a large quantity of ammunition, and a video claiming responsibility for the May 24 assault that killed two Israeli citizens and a Frenchman and gravely wounded another.
According to a French prosecutor, the 29-year-old Mr. Nemmouche was from northern France and had a criminal record. He left for Syria three weeks after his last prison stay in late 2012 and was there for a year. The French prosecutor added that at least one of Mr. Nemmouche's weapons was wrapped in a white sheet scrawled with the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a jihadist group fighting in Syria. Hundreds of French citizens are believed to have joined Islamic extremists fighting Bashar Assad's government in the three-year-old civil war.
Our "realist" friends have opposed any Western help for the Syrian opposition on grounds that it would prolong the war and assist jihadists. Yet doing nothing to help the nonradical opposition has prolonged the war and helped the extremists recruit jihadists world-wide. Last week the State Department said a young American from Florida conducted a suicide truck bomb attack in Syria while fighting for the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusrah front.
The conceit of the anti-interventionists is that if we avoid the world's conflicts, those conflicts will leave us alone. Syria's won't.
France 24 & WSJ