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WEDNESDAY, 23 APR 2014
11:46 PM Beirut time
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Sweden raises estimate of fighters in Syria to 75
Associated Press
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY TOM SULLIVAN
Satellite dishes are pictured on balconies at the Hovsjoe district in south-western Soedertaelje on November 20, 2013, a city where there is a large Syrian community. Sweden, as the only country to give Syrian refugees automatic residence, has struggled to house them and faces warnings of a coming surge in arrivals. 
AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY TOM SULLIVAN Satellite dishes are pictured on balconies at the Hovsjoe district in south-western Soedertaelje on November 20, 2013, a city where there is a large Syrian community. Sweden, as the only country to give Syrian refugees automatic residence, has struggled to house them and faces warnings of a coming surge in arrivals. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND
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STOCKHOLM: Sweden's security police, SAPO, says at least 75 people have left the country to fight in Syria since mid-2012, more than doubling an estimate from earlier this year.

The figures presented Monday underscore a trend seen across Europe of fighters joining al-Qaida-linked groups in Syria.

SAPO's chief counterterrorism analyst, Jonathan Peste, said those who travel from Sweden are mainly men aged between 18 and 30. Many are new recruits, who haven't been involved with militant Islamist groups before.

In April SAPO said it believed around 30 fighters had left Sweden for Syria.

Peste said the focus on Syria has led to a decrease of Swedish fighters being recruited to militant groups elsewhere, such as al-Shabab in Somalia.

 
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