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Kyrgyz Official: 600 Nationals Fighting In Syria, Iraq

BISHKEK -- A Kyrgyz security official says as many as 600 Kyrgyz citizens have joined Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq.

The figure includes 100 women, a spokesman for the Kyrgyz State Committee for National security, Rakhat Sulaimanov, told RFE/RL on August 3.

According to Sulaimanov, more than 70 Kyrgyz citizens had been killed in the past years while fighting on the side of Islamic militant groups.

He also said that 20 nationals have returned to Kyrgyzstan after taking part in the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts.

Kyrgyz authorities earlier said about 500 Kyrgyz citizens had joined Islamic militants in the two Middle Eastern countries.