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Two high school classmates, both French Muslims, headed off to Syria this month instead of going to school.French authorities say that more than 600 French have gone to Syria, are plotting to go or have returned, and more than 20 have been killed in fighting. As of mid-January, a dozen French adolescents were in Syria or in transit, according to authorities. As the boys from France's southern Toulouse region were questioned Friday by a judge, the trial of three French Muslims caught heading to Syria was concluding in another wing of the Palace of Justice in Paris.French Interior Minister Manuel Valls plans to present a series of measures to President Francois Hollande in coming weeks aimed at stemming the tide of French Muslims to Syria.It has the largest Muslim population in western Europe, estimated at 5 million, and Syria, once under French rule, is familiar to some citizens.For Alain Chouet, a former intelligence director at France's DGSE spy agency, youth looking for a cause are attracted by Internet battle videos or recruitment forums, media attention and easy access from Turkey, a vacation destination for many French people. The cases – including the death this month in Syria of a 30-year-old man from Toulouse – has raised alarm bells in French households.
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