Malaysian fighting in Syria does not plan to come home: Report

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A Malaysian fighting in Syria does not plan to come home even if he could escape action by the authorities, saying that he has nothing to return to.

Ahmad Salman Rahim, who left for Syria early last year, said he has no close family or friends waiting for him back home.

“I have no wife, and my parents passed away a long time ago," he told The Star Online in a Facebook conversation in early March. “I have a few siblings, but they are all married and have families of their own,” 

Ahmad Salman, who is said to be with a group of other militants in Syria fighting against president Bashar Al-Assad’s army, had previously indicated he could return if an Islamic party was in government.

He also stated his intention to travel to Palestine to assist in their struggle against Israel.

“If Pakatan were to rule together with an Islamic party, I believe I would make a brief return to Malaysia, before my dream to go to Palestine,” he tweeted last November.

He has not hidden his desire to go to Palestine, previously telling The Star that it was where he would rather be.

“Before heading to Syria, I had first tried to enter Gaza. However, the Egyptian authorities made it very difficult for me to enter via the Rafah border, so I gave up on that mission,” he said.

Ahmad Salman is one of some 70 Malaysians fighting in Syria, although he and a few others have claimed not to be a part of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

His compatriots, former Kedah PAS youth information chief Mohd Lotfi Ariffin and 21-year-old Mohd Fadhlan Shahidi, have since been killed in attacks by the Syrian army.

The Malaysian government is expected to table a new Prevention of Terrorism Bill in Parliament this week to address the growing threat of ISIS.

Under the proposed act, those suspected of militancy or terrorist activities could be detained for two years without trial, and an additional two years if deemed necessary.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said in December that the new law was needed specifically to deal with Malaysian militants returning home after fighting in the Middle East.