More than 20 Belgian Islamists killed in Syria: Minister

AFP, Monday 13 Jan 2014

More than 20 of the 200 or so Belgian Islamists who have left for Syria to fight President Bashar al-Assad's regime have been killed, Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said Monday.

"More than 200 people have been clearly identified or are being identified... Most have joined the most extremist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)," an Al-Qaeda-linked group, Reynders said in a newspaper interview.

"More than 20 have already died in Syria," he told the daily La Libre Belgique newspaper.

Reynders also reiterated growing concerns among governments across Europe over "how to keep track of these jihadists to see whether they are dangerous once they return here or elsewhere".

"Not only will they be more radicalised in their commitment but also (acquire) techniques and experience enabling them to do almost anything," he added.

Belgium has been working on the problem with France, which believes some 400 youngsters have left to fight with extremist Islamist groups.

Officials from the two countries have also been in contact with Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Denmark to coordinate a response.

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