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Six men handed prison terms for attempting to infiltrate Syria

By Taylor Luck - Jan 13,2014 - Last updated at Jan 13,2014

AMMAN — The State Security Court on Monday sentenced six men to prison terms ranging from one to 15 years for attempting to infiltrate Syria to fight alongside jihadist forces last year.

The six men, who hail from Amman and the southern city of Maan, are reportedly veteran members of the hard-line Jihadi Salafist movement and allegedly intended to fight alongside Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat Al Nusra jihadist coalition against Syrian regime forces, according to a judicial source.

The men opened fire on border guards during their arrest, seriously injuring two members of the Jordan Armed Forces, the source said.

Further investigation revealed that the group had several semi-automatic weapons and ammunition in their possession.

Leaders of the Jihadi Salafists confirmed the sentencing, claiming it was part of an ongoing “crackdown” on the Islamist movement.

“These men did not open fire on security personnel and posed no threat to Jordan or the Jordanian people,” said Saad Hneiti, veteran leader of the Jordanian jihadist movement.

“This is part of ongoing pressure on the Jihadi Salafist movement and Islamist movements across the world, in order to force us to abandon the project of building an Islamic state in Syria.”

According to hardline Islamists, some 2,200 Jordanians are currently fighting alongside Islamist militants in Syria — comprising the largest contingent of foreign fighters opposing the regime.

In November last year, the State Security Court sentenced two Jordanians to prison for attempting to join Syrian jihadist groups, and in September imprisoned 11 men for alleged Syrian jihadist ties.

Local authorities continue to monitor the country’s 370-kilometre border with Syria to curb a rising flow of foreign fighters, with security sources reporting the arrest of 15 foreign jihadists since the beginning of the year. 

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