Some 800 Tunisians are fighting as militants against the Syrian government, Tunisian Prime Minister Othman Jerandi says.
Jerandi made the remarks in an interview with AFP on Saturday, saying Tunisia is attempting to return the country’s nationals who were arrested in Syria.
" We don ' t have exact numbers, since several people left the country illegally, but the most accurate estimate is a maximum of 800, " the Tunisian prime minister said.
"The repatriation of Tunisians can be facilitated by the embassy in Lebanon after the government makes contact with the Syrian authorities about imprisoned Tunisian citizens," he added. According to reports by a Tunisian local radio, only in February, 132 Tunisians died in and around the northern city of Aleppo. The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence. The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals. Damascus says the West and its regional allies, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, are supporting the militants. In an interview recently broadcast on Turkish television, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that if the militants take power in Syria, they could destabilize the entire Middle East region for decades. “If the unrest in Syria leads to the partitioning of the country, or if the terrorist forces take control… the situation will inevitably spill over into neighboring countries and create a domino effect throughout the Middle East and beyond,” he stated.