"These children here are fighting for the jihad. Are you an infidel to keep them away from the jihad? We will shoot you and bury you here if you come here again." a Turkish father, who went to Syria, fanatically searching for his twin sons, was told. He returned home empty-handed.
His boys had told the family they were going to university. Their behaviour had change since a year, says the father.
An article in Istanbul-based daily Radikal, speaks about the agony of Turkish families whose children are being recruited to fight the Syrian war.
"First they grew beards, then they told their sisters to cover their heads," the father recalled.
"They were getting mad at me while discussing the civil war in Syria, saying, "There are things you do not understand. You do not understand Islam. This is a jihad and everybody should fight for it."
The father eventually learned his sons were not in college but fighting someone else's war in Syria. "They said they went there to take up the jihad and I should not come after them," says the agonising father.
A gruelling search through six military camps in four days, meeting Turkish people from Adiyaman, Bitlis and Bingol, the father finally traced his twins boys in a military camp in Aleppo. He pleaded with them, but they refused to return.
With the "promise of money" and the "glory of jihad," youth in the age group of 18-30 are being recruited through special drives by several groups linked to the al-Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate, al-Nusra.
But the rebels are not the only ones recruiting youth in Turkey, says the report. Groups loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, have also set up recruitment campaigns in the country.
The article translated from the original by Worldcrunch, says, most of the youths are recruited from the Adiyaman province and other areas bordering Syria. The recruits are then sent to Syria in small groups of 15. They travel through the towns of Kilis, Hatay and Sanliurfa, says the report.
The Daily estimates that, at least 200 Turkish citizens have been taken to Syria from Adiyaman alone in recent months. Relatives travel from camp to camp in search of their sons. Some youth refuse to return and other manage to get back, by paying ransom, says the report.
The Daily quotes Ozturk Turkdogan, head of the Human Rights Association of Turkey, saying that Turkish intelligence officers are aware of youth being recruited to fight in Syria, but is surprised that, authorities and not doing anything to stop these recruitment drives.
But as the web publication, Al-Monitor reports, it is not a surprising trend. Earlier, Turkish nationals have participated in jihadist conflicts in Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan.
The Al-Monitor further notes that a large number of fighters in Syria are from the west.
"About 2,000 EU and US nationals are currently believed to be in the ranks of al-Qaeda and its derivative jihadist movements in Syria. We are talking about 2,000 people with German, French and British passports. They have joined the armed struggle against President Bashar al-Assad by crossing into Syria over the borders of Turkey, Jordan or Iraq. Of them, 60 are believed to be US citizens or Muslims with US green cards. The names of 10 of them are known by security services. A few of them are women." the report says.
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