New York: A French citizen arrested in Paris last year over his connection with the Islamic State has told investigators that he encountered "some Indians", Russians and Chechens in a dormitory he was put in by the terror group
after arriving in the war-torn Syria, a media report said.
The New York Times, in an article about the Turkey airport terror attack, said the presence of large numbers of Russian-speaking fighters in Syria has been widely reported.
It cited the account of a French citizen Reda Hame, who was arrested in Paris last August soon after returning from Syria.
Hame allegedly told interrogators with France's domestic intelligence wing that he had been recruited by the external operations arm of ISIS and "assigned to create mayhem at a rock concert in France," the report said.
In the transcript of his interrogation, Hame describes how, after reaching Syria last summer, he was "first housed inside a dormitory that had 'a hundred people – Russians, Chechens, some Chinese, one American, some Indians'," the report said.
It said since 2014, the Islamic State has been trying to mount attacks in the West through a unit described in intelligence documents as the group's external operations branch, headed by the militant group’s spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani.
In the past two years, this branch has sent at least 20 operatives, trained in Syria and mostly French speakers, to
Europe and Lebanon, possibly because they could fit in more and assume a more Western appearance, analysts said.
It added that senior Russian security officials have estimated that up to 7,000 fighters from Russia and Central Asia have gone to Syria to fight, many of them joining the Islamic State.
According to the International Crisis Group, up to 4,000 volunteers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan had joined the militant group by the end of 2015.
In Central Asian states like Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, the recruitment of fighters for the Islamic State has been spurred by government repression against Muslim organisations as well as widespread poverty.
Last month, US-based private SITE Intelligence Group had said that the Islamic State had launched a new propaganda video that showed off a large group of Kalashnikov-wielding jihadists allegedly from India fighting against the Syrian forces in the Homs province.
The video is part of Islamic State propaganda campaign on foreign fighters in their ranks, the group had said adding that the terror group's division in Homs released the video on Indian fighters aimed at recruiting jihadists from the country to fight against the Syrian government forces.
First Published On : Jul 1, 2016 14:34 IST