Start A Petition

Up to Ten Former French Soldiers 'Have Defected to Islamic State'

Society & Culture  (tags: Islam, Islamic fighters. Islamic militants, jihadists, France, Frech soldiers, deserting )

- 1581 days ago -
Several French former soldiers have joined the ranks of jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq, France's government confirmed on Wednesday, as it outlined a raft of new anti-terror measures in the wake of the Islamist attacks in Paris.


We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


ALLEN G (19)
Thursday January 22, 2015, 8:30 am

Beth S (330)
Thursday January 22, 2015, 8:43 am
French government confirms several former soldiers fighting for jihadists in Syria and Iraq, with reports that up to ten have joined Islamic State – including some with commando training

Several French former soldiers have joined the ranks of jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq, France's government confirmed on Wednesday, as it outlined a raft of new anti-terror measures in the wake of the Islamist attacks in Paris.

Most of the ex-soldiers, reportedly numbering around ten and including former paratroopers and French foreign legionnaires, are said to be fighting on behalf of Islamic State of Iraq and the levant.

Most worrying is the reported presence of an ex-member of France's elite First Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, considered one of Europe's most experienced special forces units and which shares the "Who Dares Wins" motto of the SAS.

The unnamed individual of North African origin had received commando training in combat, shooting and survival techniques and served for five years before joining a private security company for whom he worked in the Arabian peninsula, where he was radicalised before heading for Syria, according to L'Opinion, a news website.

One of the defectors has become the "emir", or leader, of a group of a dozen or so French-born Islamists operating in the Syrian region of Deir Ezzor who have all received solid combat training, reported Radio France International, or RFI.

Others, apparently in their twenties, are explosive experts. Some are Muslim converts while others are radicalised French from an "Arab-Muslim" background, said RFI.

Last April, an Islamist propaganda video showed one recruit who claimed to be "of French origin, with French parents, a former soldier in the infantry parachute regiment".

Jean-Yves Drian, the French defence minister, on Wednesday confirmed the existence of a handful ex-French military personnel among jihadist fighters in the Middle East, but played down their presence, saying the phenomenon was "extremely rare".

However, they will raise fears over the risk of a French version of the 2009 gun rampage at Fort Hood, the US military base in Texas where Nadal Hasan, a US army major who turned to radical Islam, killed 13 servicemen due to leave for Afghanistan and wounded more than 30.

Mr Drian said that the French armed forces' internal security and protection unit, DPSD, will "reinforce its vigilance and see its means increased".

News of the defections came as Manuel Valls, the French prime minister unveiled a raft of anti-terror measures worth 425 million euros, in the wake of France's worst Islamist terror attack that saw 17 people killed this month.

It also coincided with a government pledge to cut 7,500 fewer defence jobs in the next five years than previously planned due to the terror threat.

Mr Valls said 2,680 new jobs will be created to fight terror by 2018 – around half in intelligence. France now had to monitor almost 3,000 people involved in "terrorist networks" following a 130 per cent jump in those linked to jihadists in Iraq and Syria in the past year, he said.

An extra 60 Muslim clerics will be recruited to work with potential militants in France's overcrowded prisons, while five units will be created to isolate radicalised inmates.

Mr Valls said the idea of stripping offenders of certain civic rights – a measure mirroring a postwar law barring Nazi collaborators from voting, holding office or working for the state – would be debated.

Other moves included the creation of "cyberpatrols" to track jihadists and recruitment online and the launch of a website dedicated to countering Islamist indoctrination.

The decision to boost web surveillance came after a group of hackers loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad broke into the Twitter account of Le Monde, one of France's most popular news websites.

The attack by the Syrian Electronic Army forced Le Monde to suspend temporarily its Twitter account, which has 3.3 million followers, but the paper later issued a tweet saying that it had regained control of its computers, adding: "We apologise for any fraudulent posts on our behalf."

Before that, the hackers managed to post messages including: "Je ne suis pas Charlie" (I am not Charlie)". This was reference to the now famous "Je suis Charlie" message brandished by millions in tribute to the 12 people killed at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical weekly, earlier this month.

They were gunned down by Cherif and Said Koachi, two French brothers of Algerian origin with links to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The same week, home-grown Islamist Amedy Coulibaly gunned down a police officer and of four hostages at a Jewish supermarket East of Paris.

Four men aged 22 to 28 were on Wednesday placed under formal investigation over the Coulibaly killings.

The men – whom Paris prosecutor Francois Molins identified only as Willy P., Christophe R., Tonino G. and Mickael A. – are suspected of having bought weapons later found among those found on Coulibaly.

According to Le Canard Enchaine, the French satirical weekly, Coulibaly had been stopped by officers on December 30 in Paris while he was driving a rented car. His partner, Hayat Boumeddiene, who fled France for Turkey shortly before the attacks, was by his side.

While police files listed Coulibaly as an Islamist, when the officers informed an anti-terror unit they got no response so let him go, the weekly said.

Beth S (330)
Thursday January 22, 2015, 8:52 am
Isn't that nice of the French to give their Muslims special military training and send them off to join ISIS, which has "nothing to do with Islam."

The French have been the greatest appeasers of Islam these past four decades, and while it's good to see that they got an abrupt shock after Charlie Hebdo, one wonders how long this will last.

And they have -- after signing numerous agreements in the European-Arab Dialog -- allowed the Muslims to enter some of the most sensitive security apparati and training -- to the enemy within. The Islamic enemy has proudly made no bones or hid who their primary allegiance is to, but the French have been determined to ignore all warning signs. Now their policies are coming home to roost.

They should be very, very nervous. Lying to oneself because it's the policy of the government, media, etc., usually comes back to bite. The French people who were never informed or asked will be paying the price. Too bad that only the people who set up this MORONIC deal with the Arabs won't be the sole victims of their incredibly suicidal policies.

So tell us, brilliant French, are you going to allow these French jihadis back into France, when they've decided it's time to come home?

Hilary S (65)
Thursday January 22, 2015, 5:01 pm
once upon a time the world's misfits could join the french foreign legion, and commit atrocities somewhere in africa - algeria for example. these days IS has rolled out the welcome mat. now the world's misfits are flocking to this new home for all their sado-masochistic and paranoid longings.

. (5)
Sunday January 25, 2015, 5:52 am

Barbara K (61)
Tuesday January 27, 2015, 10:29 am
I hope that anyone who joins these terrorist groups have their passports cancelled by their home countries so they cannot return. Including here in the US as well.
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in Society & Culture

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.