French 15-Year-Olds Thought to Be Youngest Western Jihadis After Travelling to Syria

Peter Allen, Telegraph (London), January 18, 2014

Two French schoolboys have travelled to Syria to become al Qaeda fighters, it emerged on Saturday.

The 15-year-olds from Toulouse are believed to be the youngest ever jihadists to emerge from a country increasingly associated with Islamic radicalism.

It comes after two British men were arrested in connection with Syria-related terror offences.

Yusuf Sawar and Mohammed Ahmed, both 21, from Handsworth, Birmingham, have been charged with planning and travelling to Syria for terrorism.

The French boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, did not turn up for school on January 6–instead using a family credit card to fly to the Middle East.

One of the boy’s father launched an appeal for their return, saying his son had been lured into extremism on the internet.

He told La Depeche newspaper: “From the start of December, my son was brainwashed online.

“There were exchanges on Facebook, and he watched videos about the war in Syria. With his computer and on his phone, he was always on social media with his friend.”

The father said he spoke with his son on Tuesday, saying: “He said we wouldn’t hear from him for a month, if he was still alive.

“He was with al Qaeda fighters. During his last phone call to us, he was talking about the fighters as his brothers.”

Thousands of foreigners have travelled to Syria since the Arab Spring revolt against President Bashir al-Assad in 2011 turned into a full-blown civil war.

While pro-democracy campaigners originally led the uprising, it now also involves al Qaeda militia.

In his New Year press conference last week, French President Francois Hollande said some 700 Frenchmen were suspected of being in Syria.

He said the country was witnessing a wave of recruitment which had not been seen for other conflicts with ties to the Muslim world, such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

Most are young Muslims men who have been radicalised on housing estates around big cities including Paris and Marseille, but this is the first time that children have been associated with overseas jihad, or holy war.

There is very little the French can do once its nationals actually arrive in Syria, although if and when they return they will be put under police surveillance.

Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old from a Toulouse housing estate, trained with al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan before returning to France to shoot dead seven people, including off-duty soldiers, in 2012.

Merah was himself killed by police following the atrocities, which led to the French authorities pledging to clamp down on youthful radicalism.

Topics: ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Pro_Whitey

    This story is why a U.S. government with half a brain would be running bombing missions on Assad’s behalf. The only problem is that not enough of those bleeps have run off to fight with Al Qaeda.

    • IstvanIN

      The US government is always against “non-Democratic” forms of government as if democracy is right for every culture and people.

      • dd121

        Otherwise known as Bush’s folly.

      • Brian

        We supported the Greek junta from 67-74.

  • “Two French schoolboys to Syria”

    Predictably, they are NOT named Pierre and François.

    As far as I care, France should be happy that they left, and should only get mad if they come back.

  • Spartacus

    Good. I hope they never come back to White lands again .

  • Luca

    If French politicians were smart they would offer free one-way flights to Damascus.

    They’d save money on welfare payments and there’d be fewer cars blazing away on Bastille Day.

  • bubo

    The good thing is that these “western” fighters almost never make it back. I can’t recall any doing so actually.

  • Extropico

    It galls me that the MSM refers to the jihadists as Gauls.

  • JohnEngelman

    Let them go. Don’t let them back.

  • Einsatzgrenadier

    That’s what happens when you have an open door mass third world immigration policy; you end up with “citizens” fighting in every major conflict around the globe.

  • IstvanIN

    This guy is a controversial French comedian. Looks French to me:

  • dd121

    As Frenchmen maybe they stand out in high resolution drone pictures. Acquiring target, captain.

  • 1stworlder

    If we are lucky they wont return, put on the vests to save French taxpayers.

  • Ella

    Dad must have skipped the speech about youthful radicalism and recruitment of young males to be trained as al Qaeda terrorists. Usually you give your children sex and drug discussions, so how times have changed with globalism.

  • john ellis

    Don’t listen to Muslim apologists like Grover Norquist, Ron Paul or obsessed Jew haters who think we can make alliances with Islamic immigrants.

    Opposing bad immigration, Muslim Jihadists, Muslim sexual grooming gangs being the worst.

    Populist parties in Switzerland and Holland shot up to #1 by strongly opposing mass Muslim immigration. It’s a winning issue. We would have to be complete fools not to take this issue…

    Yeah, complete fools, 9/11 conspiracy theory loons, open border immigration libertarian loons, people who simply hate (America) so much they’ll go for anything from Marxist terrorism to Islamic Jihadism to attack, slaughter Americans, Westerners.

    And have some fun with the Muslim extremists, they have no sense of humor. Try to get some town in Texas to ban beer, BBQ pork and Christmas because these things offend Islam.

    That Ayn Rand follower in California is getting good mileage out of opposing radical Islam, why should she get all the support we should get?

  • jackryanvb

    Don’t listen to Muslim apologists like Grover Norquist, Ron Paul or obsessed Jew haters who think we can make alliances with Islamic immigrants.

    Opposing bad immigration, Muslim Jihadists, Muslim sexual grooming gangs being the worst.

    Populist parties in Switzerland and Holland shot up to #1 by strongly opposing mass Muslim immigration. It’s a winning issue. We would have to be complete fools not to take this issue…

    Yeah, complete fools, 9/11 conspiracy theory loons, open border immigration libertarian loons, people who simply hate (America) so much they’ll go for anything from Marxist terrorism to Islamic Jihadism to attack, slaughter Americans, Westerners.

    And have some fun with the Muslim extremists, they have no sense of humor. Try to get some town in Texas to ban beer, BBQ pork and Christmas because these things offend Islam.

    That Ayn Rand follower in California is getting good mileage out of opposing radical Islam, why should she get all the support we should get?

  • If France is really lucky, the Syrian government forces will see to their duty, and these jihadis won’t be returning to Europe; not alive, anyway.
    .

  • jeffaral

    Anyone who visited France knows this is no more an European nation. The French are the epithome of surrender and cowardness. By by France!