France has counted 150 French fighting alongside jihadists in Syria, the French interior minister, Manuel Valls said in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper Tuesday.
Valls said 30 of the fighters have now returned to France and they being subjected to intensive surveillance. Meanwhile, he said, there are still 40 fighters on the Turkish border, while the fate of the other 80 inside Syrian territory remains unknown and there has been no contact with them.
The minister’s remarks come amid rumors in Europe about the presence of some 800 Europeans fighting in Syria. Belgium has already announced the presence of 120 of Belgian nationals fighting in Syria.
Separately, sources close to the French foreign ministry said Paris is in the process of penalizing those who leaked a video of the former French Ambassador to Syria Eric Chevallier, in which he is seen reprimanding opposition figures in Istanbul.
The source said that the foreign ministry has identified the individual who leaked the clip and said that it will pursue the right course of action, amid fears there may be more yet-to-be broadcast videos of Chevallier at the opposition meetings.
A broadcast Monday of the video shows Chevallier berating a group of opposition figures for their lack of commitment to an agreed expansion of the Coalition to include 22 new members, as France and Saudi Arabia wish, instead of the 8 the coalition included.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer