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Lavrov Claims Kouachi Brothers 'Fought In Syria'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has claimed that two Al-Qaeda-linked brothers thought to have carried out last week's terrorist massacre in Paris had trained and fought along the Islamic militants in Syria.

Cherif and Said Kouachi eventually were shot dead by French security forces on January 9, after allegedly killing 12 people on January 7 in an attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly.

Lavrov, speaking in Moscow on January 12, said the Kouachi brothers "had learned the art of terrorism in Syria where, by the way, they had been fighting on the side of those who were busy working for the cause supported by our Western colleagues -- the cause of toppling [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad."

Little or no information in the public domain has suggested the Kouachi brothers fought in Syria, and Lavrov provided no evidence to support his claim.

Cherif Kouachi, 32, was convicted in 2008 for his involvement in France as part of network that sent recruits to fight alongside Al-Qaeda militants in Iraq.

According to French and Yemeni intelligence sources, the 34-year-old Said Kouachi to Yemen in 2009, where he trained with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Based on reporting by Reuters and