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Americans among 12,000 foreign fighters in Syria: US

Published on Aug 22, 2014 8:01 AM
An image grab taken from a video released via Al-Nusra's official channel Al-Manara Al-Baydaa on July 25, 2014, shows a young US suicide bomber from Florida who blew himself up at an army post in the northwest of Syria. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Some 12,000 foreign jihadists from 50 countries, including Americans, have gone to fight in Syria since the conflict began, the US State Department said on Thursday.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, estimated that more than 100 US citizens have traveled or tried to travel to Syria to join the conflict.

They have traveled to join radical groups including the Islamic State (IS), militants fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria who have expanded into neighboring Iraq.

"We think that there are approximately 12,000 fighters from at least 50 countries in Syria - foreign fighters, including a small number of Americans - that may have traveled to Syria since the beginning of the conflict" more than three years ago, said deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.

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