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Tajikistan Confirms Reports Of Fighters In Syria

DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's presidential spokesman has confirmed reports of Tajik citizens fighting on the side of opposition forces in Syria.

Abdufattokh Sharipov told RFE/RL that Tajik nationals fighting against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could present a danger to Tajikistan's own security if they returned home.

Sharipov added that Tajik authorities would ask Damascus to provide Dushanbe with more details about Tajik nationals fighting on Syrian territory.

Syria's grand mufti, Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun, said in Moscow on October 27 that he believed around 100,000 foreigners -- including from the United States, China, and European Union states -- were fighting on the side of opposition forces in Syria's civil war.

Hassoun claimed that 190 Tajik nationals, as well as hundreds of fighters from other former Soviet republics -- namely Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and the Russian republic of Chechnya -- were among the fighters.