news 04 Jul 13

Syria Fighters Identified as Bosnian Islamists

Security services in Sarajevo have identified several Muslim fighters in Syria as Bosnian citizens and members of an armed militant group with alleged links to Al-Qaida.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

An investigation by Bosnian security agencies has concluded that a group of Bosnian Muslims went to fight with the radical Islamist group Al-Nusra against the authorities in Syria.

The investigation was launched after the release of a video in May which showed heavily-armed and masked militants preparing to attack the Syrian city of Homs.

According to Bosnia’s Federation entity television, FTV, the investigation concluded that several of the men shown in the video came from Bosnia.

The security services identified one of the fighters as 22-year-old Armen Dzelko from Hadzici near Sarajevo, a follower of the radical Wahhabi Islamic movement in Bosnia.

FTV reported that Dzelko joined the movement a year ago in a Muslim community in Hadzici that was originally set up by an Islamist called Bajro Ikanovic, who was jailed in 2007 for plotting a suicide attack.

Both Dzelko and Ikanovic went to Syria in February this year to fight with the Al-Nusra movement, which has been classified by the US as a terrorist group and is believed to have close links links to Al-Qaida.

The security services also identified 20-year-old Jasmin Keserovic from the town of Zavidovici as one of the men in the video. It’s believed that Keserovic has returned from Syria after fighting against the government of Bashar Al-Assad.

Another Bosnian identified from the video was Muaz Sabic, who according to FTV died in Syria at the end of April.

Two other Bosnians, Edin Alijev and Elvedin Memic, were also named as appearing in the militants’ brief film.

So far it has not been established who organised or financed the Bosnian fighters’ trip to Syria.

The conflict in Syria began in March 2011, following anti-government protests that spread all over the country and became a full-scale armed rebellion.

According to the UN, more than 90,000 people have died as a result of the conflict.

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