French Jihadis Going to Syria are like Internationalist Brigades Going to 1936 Spain

Éric Zemmour, a polemical French writer and political journalist has warned that radicalised French youngsters going to Syria as jihadists are the face of a domestic fifth column that poses a danger to France.

Syria is the new school of terrorism says Éric Zemmour

Syria is the new school of terrorism says Éric Zemmour

“La Syrie est la nouvelle école du terrorisme”
Crédit: Éric Zemmour

Commenting on RTL radio after the release over the Easter weekend of four French journalists held captive and abused by Syrian jihadists, among them French-speaking radicals, he said: “Syria is the new school of terrorism offering a high level of training. France will gradually discover that she is harbouring an enemy population within (the country)”.

Zemmour, whose anti-liberal positions are notorious in France, is the scion of an Algerian Jewish family and a proud French Jew. In his editorial comment (listen above to the podcast) he said: “Les jeunes jihadistes ont pris au pied de la lettre les appels à la guerre sainte” –“The young jihadistes have taken literally the (Islamic) call to wage Holy War… They are to Islam what the Red Brigade was to Leninism.”

He added: “hundreds of young people are leaving France to partake in a jihadist crusade in Syria and they go there via Turkey.

“In the 30s numbers of Frenchmen also left the country to join the ranks of the International Brigades and fight against Franco’s Spain, a comparison which angers all those who admire that struggle, but there was among the rapturous communists of that time the same inspiration of joining a struggle for a holy cause outside their homeland”.


The French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has unveiled measures to curb and control the radicalisation of youths and stop them from joining jihadist groups in Syria.

France 24 reports: “The comprehensive strategy is designed to combat radicalism from the early stages of cyber indoctrination to the advanced phase of jihadist volunteers travelling to the battlefield or zone of operation, according to French officials.

” ‘Our plan is to tackle this upstream [at the source], and all the way downstream,” said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in an interview with a French radio station Tuesday. ‘We will identify young people caught on this tragic path. We will monitor this online, and then we must stop them from crossing the Syrian border, and monitor their return and reintegration’.”

“The new anti-radicalisation strategy comes as senior officials have raised the alarm over the growing ranks of French youths joining jihadist groups in Syria.

“The French Interior Ministry estimates that nearly 700 French citizens or residents have made their way into Syria since the conflict began. About 15% of them are women, who typically accompany their jihadist husbands, sometimes with their children”.

Shortly after the government announcement Marine le Pen, leader of the Front National which currently tops the French polls for the expected majority of seats the party is set to win in the European Parliamentary election in May, told BFM TV:

Zemmour’s warning comes hard on the heels of growing concerns about rising anti-Semitism linked to Islamic extremism, in France. This is the subject of the report here by the conservative US Christian Broadcasting network CBN News. Dale Hurd is the broadcaster’s Paris correspondent:

Historical note:  “A group of 500 volunteers (mainly French, with a few exiled Poles and Germans) arrived in Albacete on 14 October 1936. They were met by international volunteers who had already been fighting in Spain: Germans from the Thälmann Battalion, Italians from Centuria Gastone Sozzi and French from Commune de Paris Battalion. Among them was British poet John Cornford. Men were sorted according to their experience and origin, and dispatched to units.

“Albacete soon became the International Brigades headquarters and its main depot. It was run by a troika of Cominternheavyweights: André Marty was commander; Luigi Longo (Gallo) was Inspector-General; and Giuseppe Di Vittorio (Nicoletti) was chief political commissar.

“The French Communist Party provided uniforms for the Brigades. They were organized into mixed brigades, the basic military unit of the Republican People’s Army. Discipline was extreme. For several weeks, the Brigades were locked in their base while their strict military training was under way.”

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