Syria is top training ground for al Qaeda, Senate is told
March 6th, 2014
05:28 PM ET

Syria is top training ground for al Qaeda, Senate is told

By Jamie Crawford

High levels of sectarianism, carnage and the overall grinding nature of Syria's civil war continue to make that country a top destination for extremists, a top U.S. official said.

"Syria has become the pre-eminent location for al Qaeda-aligned groups to recruit, to train and to equip what is now a growing number of extremists, some of who seek to conduct external attacks," Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told a congressional hearing on Thursday.

"From a terrorism perspective, the most disturbing element is that al Qaeda has declared Syria its most critical front," he said.

Olsen testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee alongside Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Assistant Secretary of Defense Derek Chollet about the crisis in Syria and the ongoing standoff with Russia over the situation in Ukraine.

Foreign fighters attracted to the Syrian battleground "represent a long-term threat to U.S. national security interests," Burns said while likening the environment to an "incubator for extremism" on both sides of the Sunni and Shiite sectarian divide.

And the changing nature and de-centralized shift from large-scale plotting by al Qaeda also remains a cause for concern, the officials said.

"These less sophisticated plots are often more difficult for us to detect and disrupt, and that puts even greater pressure on us to work closely with our partners," Olsen said.

There are also concerns over the travel patterns of foreign fighters to and from Syria, particularly those from western countries that have become a priority for officials across U.S. national security agencies to follow.

"We are working together to gather every single piece of information we can about the identities of these individuals," Olsen said.

With the Syrian conflict nearing the beginning of its fourth year, senators from both parties pushed Burns for clarification on the Obama administration's support for the moderate opposition, and its goal of political transition away from the rule of Bashar al-Assad.

Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey said the administration's policy was not as "robust' as it could be in his view, while the top Republican on the panel, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, criticized the "festering" nature of the situation that allows foreign extremists to proliferate inside Syria.

"It is a disaster of great proportions," Corker said.

"We understand the urgency" of the situation, Burns said while adding the administration is "looking at a range of options" it can take unilaterally and with international allies to bolster support for the moderate opposition in Syria.

Burns added that he believed that 35 percent of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile would be removed from the country next week as part of an international agreement.

But he added the "foot dragging" of the process by the al-Assad regime was "deeply frustrating."

soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Skorpio

    In fact every mosque around the world has some responsibility too.

    March 17, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  2. Krthu Fsdfhjk

    Rusian porn watching watchers above.

    March 17, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  3. Gabe Utsecks

    wow
    such 9/11
    very training
    so al-qaeda
    wow very gun
    so death

    March 12, 2014 at 11:04 am | Reply
  4. dave

    Where is the reporting on the weapons being smuggled to Gaza on a ship from Iran...what a farce you only report marshmallow news

    March 10, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Reply
  5. Skorpio

    A massive conversion of Muslims to Christianity is the most pragmatic answer to drastically reduce global Islamic madness and violence. The root of all evil is Islam and Islamic clerics with devout Muslims are the most perverse, violent, intolerant, irrational and discriminatory people on this planet. These S0B's are the main instigators of millions of brainless Muslims to commit all kinds of atrocities and crimes.

    March 10, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  6. Marty

    What do you expect as long as the US foreign policy is "At this point what difference does it make".

    March 10, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  7. Paul

    Syria, try Saudi Arabia.

    March 10, 2014 at 11:51 am | Reply
  8. john smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.

    March 10, 2014 at 12:15 am | Reply
    • JB

      The soviets have shot down multiple commercial aircraft.

      March 14, 2014 at 6:23 pm | Reply
  9. just wondering

    one thing W and Cheney created.... was a environment they will kill millions in the end...

    March 9, 2014 at 11:09 pm | Reply
  10. just wondering

    seems like after Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria would be just a continuation of their training... but then its politics... the agenda is what its all baout

    March 9, 2014 at 11:07 pm | Reply
  11. Xu Xui

    Do not listen to the jew view about Syria, they are simply doing

    what they do best. Manipulation.

    March 9, 2014 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  12. George patton

    why just Syria, they are all terrorist training countries, where Mohammad rules.

    March 9, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Reply
    • George patton

      You forgot to mention Phunnie boy, that the C.I.A. and the British MI-6 are undoubtedly the two biggest terrorist groups around. Look at what happened in Chile prior to the tradic coup d'etat on Sept. 11, 1973, for instance and that's but one example of C.I.A. terror!!!

      March 9, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Reply
      • marc

        you are hundred pecent right my friend one thing the american and the euorpian can do STOP SENDING ARMS FOR THESE TERRORIST from when we have amoderate terrorist that tha american call them moderate terrorist all these wahabi terrorist come sfrom one country SAUDI ARABIATHEY SEND AND SPENT BILLION OF DOLLARS one day is coming they will pay the price

        March 15, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
      • marc

        you are hundred pecent right my friend one thing the american and the euorpian can do STOP SENDING ARMS FOR THESE TERRORIST from when we have amoderate terrorist that tha american call them moderate terrorist all these wahabi terrorist come sfrom one country SAUDI ARABIATHEY SEND AND SPENT BILLION OF DOLLARS one day is coming they will pay the price i NEVER COMENT AND DUPLICATE ANY COMENTS NOT NOW NOR BEFORE or because you dont like my coments YOU PEOPLE

        March 15, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
      • jwhgcyugfr

        تحذير
        قد تكون مراقب
        هل تستخدم امريكا و اسرائيل الانترنت بمواقعه ( يوتيوب, فيس بوك, تويتر,غرف الشات..) للتجسس!
        warning you may be watched
        do usa & israel use the internet ( youtube, facebook, twitter, chat rooms,ect...)to collect informations,,,,can we call that spying ?do they record&analyse everything on the internet?
        they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,place of work,ur mobile number.............ect, can they harm you using these informations?!
        تحذير
        قد تكون مراقب
        هل تستخدم امريكا و اسرائيل الانترنت بمواقعه ( يوتيوب, فيس بوك, تويتر,غرف الشات..) للتجسس!
        warning you may be watched
        do usa & israel use the internet ( youtube, facebook, twitter, chat rooms,ect...)to collect informations,,,,can we call that spying ?do they record&analyse everything on the internet?
        why they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,place of work,ur mobile number.............ect, can they use these informations in a way that may harm you?!
        تحذير قد تكون مراقب
        هل تستخدم امريكا و اسرائيل الانترنت بمواقعه ( يوتيوب, فيس بوك, تويتر,غرف الشات..) للتجسس!
        warning you may be watched
        do usa & israel use the internet ( youtube, facebook, twitter, chat rooms,ect...)to collect informations,,,,can we call that spying ?do they record&analyse everything on the internet?
        they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,place of work,ur mobile number.............ect, can they harm you using these informations?!

        March 17, 2014 at 7:16 am |
  13. Jhfgd Fhm

    Crimea-river-Putin the Getto-Hitler land mine planter.

    March 9, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  14. Jhfgd Fhm

    Putin is a land mine planting Assad supporting Ghetto-Hitler.

    March 9, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Reply
  15. ertyertyrtyrty345645

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    EN ALGUNOS PAISES LO Llaman ELECTRÓNICA ACOSO.

    COMO SON LOS torturadores.

    OBSERVEN UNO DE LOS COMENTARIOS O PALABRAS.

    TU EDOR.

    Y ESO QUE LOS PERIODISTAS DE CANADA SABEN BASTANTE DE ESO.

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    March 8, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  16. ertyertyrtyrty345645

    ESTOS PERIODISTAS A VECES NOS PREGUNTAN UNAS INFORMACIONES QUE NOS SORPRENDEN.

    SABEN QUE NOS PREGUNTARON Y QUE DE QUE SE TRATAN LAS Torturas MENTALES.

    LES DIJIMOS BUENO EL MEJOR EJEMPLO ES EL DE LA PELÍCULA MATRIX DONDE APARECE MORFEO.

    Irradiado CAUTERIZADO CON APENAS UNAS HORAS DE Torturas MENTALES Imagínense 15 AÑOS.

    EN ALGUNOS PAISES LO Llaman ELECTRÓNICA ACOSO.

    COMO SON LOS torturadores.

    OBSERVEN UNO DE LOS COMENTARIOS O PALABRAS.

    TU EDOR.

    Y ESO QUE LOS PERIODISTAS DE CANADA SABEN BASTANTE DE ESO.

    RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    March 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  17. RTYERYTERYT

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    LLÁMELO Y DÍGALE ES NUESTRO OBJETIVO PARA QUE ENTRE TODOS HAGAMOS LAS DENUNCIAS.
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    PRIMERAS DAMAS EN EL PROSTÍBULOS INTERNACIONAL – SEGÚN LOS POLITICOS SON ESTUDIOS RELIGIOSOS.
    CUANTO TIENE PARA COMPRAR UN HUMANO.
    HAN SEGUIDO CON LAS IRRADIACIONES Y LOS CAMBIOS DE VOLTAJE EN LATINO AMERICE.
    DENUNCIA ALAS PUTAS BASURAS ESPOSAS DE POLÍTICOS QUE ESTAN EN SUBASTA CON BILDEMBERG POR VENTA DE PROYECTOS ROBADOS DE LATINO AMERICA.
    DENUNCIAMOS A LAS PERRITAS ENFERMAS MENTALES ASESINAS VIOLADORAS NARCOTRAFICANTES POR VENTA DE HUMANOS EN VENEZUELA PARA ESTUDIOS DE LA RAZA HUMANA DONDE LA INFORMACIÓN DE EL DETERIORO GENÉTICO SE VENDE PARA ORGANIZACIONES COMO OBAMA CERA CENTER ORGANIZACIONES ESPAÑOLAS INGLESAS Y DE OTROS PAÍSES.
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    DENUNCIAMOS A LA PRIMERA DAMA PUTA COREANA HILLARY CLINTON LADRONA CASO DE VIOLACIÓN FABIOLA LEÓN.
    DENUNCIAMOS A LA PRIMERA DAMA PUTA COREANA LAURA BUSH LADRONA CASO DE VIOLACIÓN FABIOLA LEÓN.
    DENUNCIAMOS A LA PRIMERA DAMA PUTA COREANA HAROLD WELCH, JENNA HAWKINS
    DENUNCIAMOS A LA PUTA COREANA ESPOSA DE BILDEMBER LADRONA CASO DE VIOLACIÓN FABIOLA LEÓN.
    DENUNCIAMOS A LA PRIMERA DAMA PUTA COREANA VERONICA LARIO MARÍA DE LAS MERCEDES DE BORBÓN-DOS SICILIAS LADRONA CASO DE VIOLACIÓN FABIOLA LEÓN.
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    A CORPORACIONES COMO BILDEMBERG.

    March 8, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Reply
    • George patton

      some jerk wasted too much space here.

      March 9, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  18. ertyerty345645

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    March 8, 2014 at 11:27 am | Reply
  19. hello

    how about setting up free one way flights for the gang-bangers and drug dealers to Syria....it would be a lot cheaper than putting them in prison and dealing with their crimes here..load them up and say bye bye... They want to play war.. lets give them a chance for the real thing...

    March 8, 2014 at 9:17 am | Reply
  20. Hfhkfghk Dfghkh

    Assad is under-performing.

    March 6, 2014 at 11:09 pm | Reply
  21. Donald George MacDonald

    It is not enough to worship with faith
    and feel worthy of saving
    and then show your hate with charm
    and then praise your guns and blows
    and then spread your crimes with wars.

    March 6, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Reply
    • Donald George MacDonald

      It remains a common individual and social tragedy when Christians, Jews or Muslims express beliefs in God, then are coerced or inducted to wound, kill or die for their countries or causes. It is especially tragic when any world citizen who feels love, and who shares love with others, enters the military and goes to war. It is tragic when our finest youths still agree to kill other equally perfect human beings.

      March 6, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Reply
      • hello

        and its the same jewish god they worship.. go figure...

        March 8, 2014 at 9:18 am |
  22. Dee Hunt

    Just who is recruiting, allowing unimpeded passage to Syria, paying, training, arming, feeding, providing political and military and propaganda support to these tens of thousands of terrorists from US, Canada, UK, 12 European and some 70 other countries?
    How is it possible that with the now notorious NSA-GCHQ-5 Eyes spying operation, a vast investment in 'War on Terror' security agencies and agents not one was apprehended as they traversed Turkey sporting their jihadi beards and slipped into Turkey?
    If there is a 'security threat' to America and western world, how come our repeat, repeat, repeat war criminal UNSC members are not concerned about the balkanising brigades and fertile jihadi breeding grounds left in the ruins of Iraq and Libya? How come there is no censure sanctioning and funds freezing of Saudi, Qatar and others bankrolling the terrorists? How come there is no prosecution of those aiding and abetting terrorism in the Turkish and Jordanian safe houses, death squad training camps, hospitals – that Israel guilty of providing too? How come there is no prosecution of those providing arms and alms to the proxy army of terrorists? ..... Ahhhh – therein lies the problem, because it is our repeat repeat war criminal nations on the UNSC and the UN 'humanitarian' Trojan Horses at work again.
    WHAT A DEPRAVED STATE OF AMERICA that it stoops to blatant criminality of arming proxy armies of terrorists in Syria, funds to the tune of $5 billion Nazi fascists in the notorious 'F–k the EU' Victoria Nuland operation.... UGH!!!!

    Regime Change in US is long, long overdue.

    March 6, 2014 at 6:33 pm | Reply
    • George patton

      Excellent posting, Dee. Thank you.

      March 7, 2014 at 12:07 am | Reply
      • George patton

        Here's this jerk again, doing his best to tear down Gen. George Patton's good name by posting his nonsense under it for his own personal amusement! he is trying to make me look as dumb as he is.

        March 9, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
    • TheJackal

      Dee, your points are somewhat accurate IN MY OPINION. What you fail to realize is that we (america) have stumbled upon a gift that we can ill-afford to let go.... We have somehow found a way to have other people kill all of the terrorist for us, and we have not lost a single soldier in the process = WINNING!!.......... P.s. (oh and you might as well get used to this process. America only has enough Oil/Natural Gas or ENERGY for about 80 years of our normal use, and we're smart enough to know that whoever holds the most 'energy' rules just about everything. Get used to seeing the good ole USA in the middle east for the next millenia. WE'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!!

      March 9, 2014 at 1:46 am | Reply
      • George patton

        Unfortunately, TheJackal, what you said above is only too true. It means that over 1 million Iraqis died for no reason at all since your post says that we've become self sufficient in oil. By the way, you forgot to mention our huge borrowing power as this is what made us so powerful. If countries like China and J apan didn't finance our huge spending deficit, we'd be just as weak as Russia and Iran!!!

        March 9, 2014 at 11:19 am |

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