Azerbaijan Arrests Eight for Joining IS in Syria, Iraq
Azerbaijan has arrested eight men for fighting alongside the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, the majority-Muslim Caucasus nation's authorities said on Friday.
The men, all Azeri nationals, "were trained in Islamic State training camps in 2012-2015 and took part in fighting in Syria and Iraq within the ranks of terrorist groups," the national security ministry said in a statement.
Fighting in foreign wars is a criminal offense in the predominantly Muslim but secular country of more than 9 million people.
Local media had previously reported numerous cases of Azerbaijani nationals fighting alongside jihadists in Syria and Iraq, including within the ranks of the Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar group consisting mostly of Islamists from the former Soviet Union.
In September, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar pledged allegiance to Al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria, Al-Nusra.
Around 25,000 foreign fighters from more than 100 countries are involved in armed conflicts worldwide, with the highest numbers in Syria, Iraq and increasingly Libya, according to United Nations.