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Asians, Australians among foreign fighters in Iraq

Published on Jun 19, 2014 8:00 PM

Dozens of Asian and Australian fighters have joined foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria to support insurgent groups, experts and officials have disclosed recently in statements that are heightening concerns over their likely ramifications for the Asia-Pacific region.

Recent arrests and revelations have highlighted the involvement of groups from Malaysia and Indonesia with the leading Iraqi hardline group - the Islamic State in Iraq and the al-Sham (ISIS) which is also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The group has been rapidly increasing areas under its control in Iraq after controlling vast swathes of Syria including oilfields in the eastern part of the country.

But regional analysts say many more South Asians will be involved as well, while Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Wednesday said that nearly 150 Australians had trained with militants in the Middle East.

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