Kiwis believed to be involved with rebel fighters in Syria

By Patrice Dougan

Spy boss Warren Tucker. Photo / Tim Hales
Spy boss Warren Tucker. Photo / Tim Hales

New Zealanders are fighting against the Assad regime in Syria and could pose a serious terror risk when they return home, it has been reported.

More than one Kiwi is believed to be involved with the rebel fighters, and are being monitored by New Zealand spies.

The SIS is said to be worried about their potential to develop into home-grown terrorists when they return to New Zealand, 3News reported. It said the fighters could pose a "very real risk" on their return.

Spy boss Warren Tucker, who heads the SIS, revealed this week that his agents are keeping tabs on New Zealanders in Syria and other war-torn countries.

"Of particular current concern is a small number of New Zealanders interested in travelling for the purposes of fighting in troublespots such as Somalia, Yemen, and more worryingly, Syria," he's quoted as saying.

The war in Syria - estimated to have cost almost 126,000 lives - has attracted al-Qaeda, who are now active on the ground in the Middle Eastern country, which has been caught up in a brutal civil war between President Bashar al-Assad's regime and rebel forces attempting to oust him from power.

"This poses new and very real risks to our domestic security environment should these individuals return home," Mr Tucker said.

Earlier this week two Sydney men were arrested, accused of recruiting young Australians to fight for the opposition rebel forces. It followed reports of an Australian man carrying out a suicide attack on a military airport in Syria.

- APNZ

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