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

Abbas said Syria was grateful to India for supporting it on non-intervention.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi |
September 5, 2013 3:22:29 am

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.

Related: Top US Republicans back Syria strike as refugee crisis mounts

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”.

Related: No-win in Syria

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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.”

On New Delhi’s response,he said,“When we told the Indian government,they were surprised.

“The Indian government and the Indian intelligence agencies should find out about them,” he said with a shrug.

Asked if the Syrian government had provided any proof to India of the involvement of Indian fighters in the war,Abbas said,“How can we share the evidence when no Indian official has been to Syria for the last two years? If they go there,we can produce evidence.

“What is going on in Syria is cross-border terrorism,and India knows what is cross-border terrorism… And India has good experience of fighting against terrorism,” he said.

“There is no Free Syrian Army… We are fighting al-Qaeda… Aspirations of which people is the world talking about? The aspirations of al-Qaeda?

“Will India support them (the West) to execute their plans (to strike Syria)? I think no. India is a great country,” he said,adding,“We are fighting terrorism on behalf of our friends.”

On the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against the rebels,the ambassador said,“We have evidence to prove that the chemical weapons came from Saudi Arabia and Qatar… But how can we share the evidence with India when no Indian official has visited us? We have shared it with the Chinese and Russians.”

Abbas said Syria was grateful to India for supporting it on non-intervention. “We expect more from our friend at the UN to stop American aggression.

“India has to decide whether you are with terrorists or against terrorists… Now is the time to talk about fighting against terrorism,” Abbas said. “We don’t want military support,we want political support.”

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