Salafist Leader: Jordan Nabs Syria-bound Jihadistsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
A top Jordanian Salafist leader said on Tuesday eight Sunni jihadists have been arrested as they tried to cross the border into neighboring Syria to fight President Bashar Assad's forces.
"The Jordanian authorities have recently arrested eight jihadists as they attempted to go to Syria for jihad. They are currently in the Zarqa prison waiting for prosecutors to charge them," Abed Shehadeh, known as Abu Mohammad Tahawi, told Agence France Presse.
"They decided to go to Syria on their own. We did not give them any orders. But all Muslims in the world, not only in Jordan, should go for jihad in Syria and defend their brothers there," said Tahawi, whose group espouses an austere form of Sunni Islam.
Tahawi did not say when the men were arrested, and government officials were not available for comment.
Jordan's powerful Muslim Brotherhood has urged support for the Syrian rebels, calling it an "Islamic duty."
Syrian insurgents and analysts have said foreign Sunni jihadists are fighting against Assad's forces but their numbers are hard to assess and almost certainly small.
Damascus has repeatedly claimed that al-Qaida was involved in the uprising, in which more than 11,000 people have been killed since March last year, according to monitoring groups.