TEHRAN (FNA)- German security officials believe that a number of Germans have teamed up with the terrorists in Syria fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, reports said.
What worries German officials most are the training and ties the German fighters gained abroad and whether they'll continue the terrorist acts once home.
In a Spiegel online interview, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich officially confirmed for the first time that there were German fighters in Syria. Friedrich particularly expressed concern about "calls for those Europeans who have been trained in battle (in Syria) to return home and pursue terrorist operation".
Since the unrest began in Syria in March 2011, the country has become a virtual training camp for al-Qaeda sympathizers. There, they learn how to use weapons and explosives, and they forge new, dangerous ties with likeminded individuals from around the world.
German officials believe that 20 German nationals are currently fighting in Syria. Some have reportedly even taken their wives there and live directly on the frontlines. In July 2012, the US State Department estimated that somewhere between a few dozen and 100 foreign fighters were active in Syria. But a recently published study posits that this figure has since grown to between 2,000 and 5,500, and the European Union's top counter-terrorism officials have stated that at least 500 of those come from EU countries. Of these, some are reportedly immigrants holding European passports, while others are native-European converts to Islam.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.
The US and its western and regional allies have long sought to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ruling system. Media reports said that the Syrian rebels and terrorist groups have received significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States.
The US daily, Washington Post, reported in May that the Syrian rebels and terrorist groups battling Assad's government have received significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States.
The newspaper, quoting opposition activists and US and foreign officials, reported that Obama administration officials emphasized the administration has expanded contacts with opposition military forces to provide the Persian Gulf nations with assessments of rebel credibility and command-and-control infrastructure.
Opposition activists who several months ago said the rebels were running out of ammunition said in May that the flow of weapons - most bought on the black market in neighboring countries or from elements of the Syrian military in the past - has significantly increased after a decision by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Persian Gulf states to provide millions of dollars in funding each month.