NEW DELHI: Indian-origin jihadi fighters have been found fighting along with the rebels in the raging civil war in Syria.
“This is one of the reasons why we think India should play a more pro-active role, because this expanding conflict will not leave anyone untouched,” said Bouthaini Shabaan, political adviser to Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad, in a conversation with TOI. She quoted UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi as saying that there were almost 38 nationalities of fighters in war-torn Syria.
Shabaan is in India as a special envoy of Assad, to convey a message from him to PM Manmohan Singh. Syria wants India to take a lead role at the forthcoming BRICS summit, and “support” Russia and China in their stand on the conflict. Both P-5 countries have vetoed UN Security Council resolutions against Syrian regime. Shabaan met foreign minister Salman Khurshid and national security adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon.
MEA spokesperson said, “India reiterated deep concern on the security situation in Syria and the continued escalation in violence. We also expressed our concern about the plight of the people of Syria arising out of intense fighting and conflict. India urged the need for peaceful resolution of the crisis with participation of all parties taking into account the legitimate aspirations of all Syrians for which the Geneva Communique which includes the 6-Point Plan of Kofi Annan provides a good basis.”
Many of the Indian fighters found in Syria are coming in from the UK, she said. Shabaan said the western narrative on the Syrian conflict was incorrect, and the war within Syria was actually being fuelled by Turkey and Qatar, with some help from Saudi Arabia.”Turkey wants to spread the Muslim Brotherhood all over the region,” she alleged.
The US, she argued, wanted to break up the region by fomenting conflicts along sectarian and ethnic lines, which could destabilize West Asia for long time to come.”We don’t want this to become a sectarian conflict,” she added. She said she had told foreign minister Salman Khurshid that India should be wary of countries funding mosques here since Damascus was living with the consequences of such action. – TOI