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Tunisian Jihadists Fighting in Syria

Many of the foreign fighters in Syria hail from Tunisia, while Tunisia struggles to deal with its own internal problems, writes Nesrine Hamedi.
A supporter holds a Syrian opposition flag during a demonstration at the Ennahda party "Youth Festival" organized by the Renaissance Movement at the Conference Palace in Tunis December 23, 2012. The event is part of a celebration for the second anniversary of the Tunisian revolution. REUTERS/Anis Mili  (TUNISIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST ANNIVERSARY) - RTR3BV0G

The subject of foreign jihadists coming to fight in Syria is nothing new. But the issue of Tunisian fighters who have flocked by the dozens over Syria's borders, passing through a long process of enlistment and training, has garnered a great deal of attention in recent days. It has shed light on the events transpiring behind the scenes of the jihadist journey to Syria, and upon those forces driving it.

At present, Tunisia estimates that around 40% of foreign jihadists in Syria hold Tunisian nationality. More than two-thirds of them are fighting in the ranks of Jabhat al-Nusra. A number of their families have organized demonstrations demanding that the authorities return their sons to Tunisia. At the same time, the Guide of the Ennahda Party, Rachid al-Ghannouchi, took the occasion as an opportunity to stress that his movement was not responsible for the phenomenon.

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