Govt cannot confifm about Indonesian jihadists in Syria

"We cannot as yet verify it. But the government has been making efforts to bring back all its citizens from that country," Marty said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesias Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa stated that he cannot confirm if there were jihadists from the country participating in the war in Syria.

"We cannot as yet verify it. But the government has been making efforts to bring back all its citizens from that country," he noted in a joint press conference with the visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry, here on Monday.

At the end of January, the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict reported that a minimum of 50 Indonesian citizens have taken arms along with the opposition groups in Syria in their efforts to topple President Bashar al Assads regime.

The director of the institute, Sidney Jones, added that the discovery had indicated revival of jihad in Indonesia, which could escalate attacks on minority groups in the country such as the Shiite and the Ahmadiyah.

In Europe, there have also been similar worries following the participation of youths from blue countries in the jihad fight in Syria.

The Guardian newspaper wrote that those returning by fight from Syria have the potential to become terrorists with wider network and more experience.

The Indonesian government however seemed not to share similar worries. Minister Marty even pointed out that with regard to Syria Indonesias priority right now was to urge the warring parties to open access to humanitarian assistance.

"What is important now is opening humanitarian aid access to those trapped in the civil war and settling the conflict peacefully without violence regardless of how difficult it is," he elaborated.

In the past, extreme religious group leaders in Indonesia have been known to have gained experience from the wars in Afghanistan and southern Philippines.

The institutes report about the involvement of Indonesian citizens in the war in Syria has been confirmed with the report about the death of Riza Fardi from Kalimantan in that country last year.

The founder of the Institute for International Peace Building, Nur Huda Ismail, meanwhile was being quoted by The New York Times that many Indonesians viewed conflict in Syria as the one between Sunni and Shiite.

Nur Huda pointed out that he was worried that the involvement of Indonesian jihadists in Syria will spread the Sunni-Shiite conflict to Indonesia. (*)

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