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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

EU Concerned Over Europeans Joining Syrian Rebels

This image taken from video, which has been authenticated, shows free Syrian Army fighters fire at Syrian army soldiers during a fierce firefight in Daraa al-Balad, Syria, March 18, 2013. (Shaam News Network via AP)

This image taken from video, which has been authenticated, shows free Syrian Army fighters fire at Syrian army soldiers during a fierce firefight in Daraa al-Balad, Syria, March 18, 2013. (Shaam News Network via AP)

The European Union’s anti-terror chief says that hundreds of Europeans are now fighting with rebel forces in Syria.

There’s concern among EU intelligence agencies that some the fighters could join jihadi groups linked to al-Qaida and later return to Europe to launch terrorist attacks.

The BBC’s Duncan Crawford met with one Belgian family that says their son has traveled to Syria to join rebels fighting against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Meantime, Syrian state media and anti-government activists say the minaret of the famed Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo (also called the Great Mosque) has been destroyed.

Syria says rebels from the al-Qaida-linked group Jabhat al-Nusra blew it up. Rebels say a Syrian tank fired a shell that “totally destroyed” the minaret.

The 12th century mosque and nearby medieval market are centerpieces of Aleppo’s walled Old City – listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – but heavily damage during the fighting.

This combination of two citizen journalist images provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows at left: the damaged famed 12th century Umayyad Mosque without the minaret, background right corner, which was destroyed by the shelling, in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria, Wednesday April 24, 2013; and at right, an undated view of the mosque with is minaret still intact. The minaret of a famed 12th century Sunni mosque in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo was destroyed Wednesday, April; 24, 2013, leaving the once-soaring stone tower a pile of rubble and twisted metal scattered in the tiled courtyard. President Bashar Assad's regime and anti-government activists traded blame for the attack against the Umayyad mosque, which occurred in the heart Aleppo's walled Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was the second time in just over a week that a historic Sunni mosque in Syria has been seriously damaged. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center, AMC)

This combination of two citizen journalist images, which have been authenticated, shows at left: the damaged famed 12th century Umayyad Mosque without the minaret. At right, an undated view of the mosque with is minaret still intact. (Aleppo Media Center/AP)


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