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Indian jihadis are fighting in Syria, says Assad’s envoy

Syrian Ambassador Riad Abbas at his New Delhi office on Wednesday.

Syria’s ambassador to India has said that “Indian fighters” are waging “Islamic jihad” against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria alongside fighters from Afghanistan and Chechnya.

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Ambassador Riad Kamel Abbas told The Indian Express Wednesday that some of these Indian nationals had been killed in the war, but some had been “caught alive”.

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Abbas said he had shared this information with the Indian government, and the government had been “surprised”. However, Syria had not been able to pass on any evidence, because no Indian official had visited Syria in the last two years, he said.

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“Indian fighters are waging Islamic jihad, along with fighters from Chechnya, Afghanistan and other countries,” the ambassador, who was handpicked by Assad for the India job two years ago, said.

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Asked who these Indian fighters were, Abbas said, “They are Islamic people, not Hindus, because Hindus don’t wage Islamic jihad… Why are you surprised?

“There are people in India who support Muslim brotherhood’s ideology… They are very dangerous,” Abbas said.

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According to Abbas, the fighters travelled to Turkey from India before entering Syria. “Some of them have been killed, some have been caught alive,” he said, adding, “One of them has been shown on Syrian TV, caught with an Indian passport.”

While refusing to give details of the identity of these alleged Indian jihadis, the ambassador said, “One of the families called me up to get back their boy’s body, and I told them it was not my duty.”

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