Around half of the rebel fighters in Syria are foreign Islamists who
aren’t interested in toppling the Assad regime. Instead, they’re seeking
to implement Sharia law throughout the country, according to a
prominent French doctor.
The co-founder of the medical charity Doctors Without Borders,
Jacques Beres, discovered some interesting information while treating
Syrian rebels in the besieged city of Aleppo.According to Beres,
60 per cent of his patients during his two week service in Syria were
rebels– and about half of those were foreign. He says the fighters
aren’t focused on the fall of the Assad regime. Instead, they have their
eyes on a different kind of prize – implementing Sharia law throughout
the country."It's really something strange to see. They are
directly saying that they aren't interested in Bashar Assad's fall, but
are thinking about how to take power afterward and set up an Islamic
state with Sharia law to become part of the world Emirate," the French doctor told Reuters.The
foreign jihadists include Frenchmen who believe they are waging a “holy
war,” claiming they’re inspired by Mohammed Merah, an Islamist militant
from the French city of Toulouse. Merah killed seven people in March,
in the name of Al-Qaeda.
"Some of [the patients] were French and completely fanatical about the future," he said.
"They are very cautious people, even to the doctor who treated them.
They didn't trust me, but for instance they told me that Mohammed Merah
was an example to follow,” Beres said.The Syrian government
has consistently maintained that the uprising against Assad is being
orchestrated from outside the country and is the work of “foreign-backed
terrorists.” It’s a claim that Beres denied until his recent two-week stint in Aleppo.
spoke of treating rebel fighters from other Arab countries as well, but
says his list of patients included at least two Frenchmen. But the list of nationalities continues to grow – jihadist fighters from Britain have joined the fight as well.
The inflow of foreign fighters has even worried some Syrian rebels, who have accused them of being “too extreme.”
As the uprising enters its 18th month, the home countries of foreign rebels are worried, too.
has expressed concern in recent years that French radical Islamists who
have traveled to lawless zones would return to plot terrorist attacks
at home. This was the case for Mohammed Merah, who traveled to
Afghanistan and Pakistan before organizing the Toulouse shooting.
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