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Syria warns Swedes: don't join rebels

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11:26 CET+01:00
Syria News, a regime-run television station, has warned Swedes against fighting in the Syrian civil war, reports Sweden's TV4 News.

The Syria News clip warns that Swedish "mercenaries" will meet a "fate darker than the night" and will be "crushed on Syria's noble ground".

The statement is seen as a response to a recruitment video that appeared on YouTube in November 2012.

The video encouraged Swedish Muslims to join the fight against the Syrian regime.

It was posted on YouTube by a group calling itself the Swedish holy warriors in Syria (Svenska Mujahideen Fi Ash Sham). The group also emailed a link to the video to the TT news agency.

"Jihad is obligatory for any and all who believe in Allah, his prophet and doomsday. It is obligatory in Sweden and in the rest of the world," a man speaking in fluent but slightly accented Swedish says in the clip.

Swedish security service Säpo confirmed that Swedes have travelled to Syria to fight in the civil war but did not say how many have gone.

The YouTube video shows several persons holding automatic weapons and assembling outdoors. The landscape appears to be Mediterranean.

However, experts at Säpo were unable to confirm whether the video was recorded in Syria.

It was also unclear why the group chose to use an older Arabic name for Syria - Sham.

Nor is there information on whether the men in the video have any ties to larger militant networks or have acted alone in producing the amateur clip.

Experts also questioned the extent of the Swedish connections of those behind the video.

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"You see one person who speaks Swedish, so it's hard to say anything about how many who are behind the film have ties to Sweden," terror expert Lars Nicander of the Swedish National Defence College told the Expressen newspaper at the time.

This is not the first time that Swedes have been called to arms by groups claiming it is a religious obligation.

”(Somali Islamists) al-Shabaab did something similar two years ago and filmed it in the sports arena in Mogadishu,” said Nicander.

TT/The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter

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