• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

French teen jihadists charged with conspiracy

AFP · 1 Feb 2014, 07:48

Published: 01 Feb 2014 07:48 GMT+01:00

The two Muslim boys, aged 15 and 16, were charged with criminal conspiracy in connection with a terrorist enterprise and placed under court supervision, which will include educational measures, said a judicial source.

The pair, who are from the southern city of Toulouse, flew to Turkey on January 6th and crossed the border into Syria, apparently planning to join the thousands of foreigners fighting President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

According to Interior Minister Manuel Valls, as many as 700 French nationals may have joined the fighting in Syria, with perhaps one-fifth of them converts to Islam. About a dozen are believed to be minors.

French officials fear these radicals could be a ticking time bomb whose eventual return to France will pose a major security challenge in the future.

Investigators spent two days interrogating the two Toulouse teens after they were flown home earlier this week.

Their answers clearly show they succeeded in crossing the border into Syria, though the 15-year-old disputes travelling to a jihadist training camp, said a source close to the case.

A lawyer for the younger suspect called the charges "ridiculous" and said the boys' trip was for "humanitarian" reasons.

"The reasons for their trip had nothing to do with any terrorist enterprise," added a lawyer for the 16-year-old.

Story continues below…

Nearly three years after it began, the war in Syria is increasingly drawing Islamist extremists to the region. Assad's regime has slapped the "terrorist" label on the entire opposition, but in fact the more moderate rebels are also fighting the extremists themselves.

French, British, Belgian and German officials have all voiced concerns about radicalised young Muslims from their countries heading to fight in Syria and returning home as battle-hardened veterans.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The French eating habits the world should learn from
The French eat together, that's one thing we could learn from. Photo: AFP

Living in France will change the way you eat and there are good reasons for it.

French bus drivers 'told to count migrants'
Twisto buses. Photo: AFP

A bus company in northern France has brought in "migrant tallies", and the drivers aren't impressed.

Unresponsive Air France jet escorted down in UK
Photo: Jonathon Gross/Flickr

British military jets acted fast to escort down an Air France passenger plane from Paris.

Euro 2016
All you need to know about the mega Paris fan zone
Photo: Lagardère Sports 2016/PACIFA

They say it will be the biggest fanzone ever at a football tournament and it will be right in the heart of Paris.

No booze, no noise: Paris cracks down on Nuit Debout
Photo: AFP

Will the Nuit Debout movement survive a ban on booze and noise?

US stubbornness will end EU free trade deal warns France
Photo: AFP

Washington needs to compromise or the deal could be off, says France.

Corsican separatists 'to end 40-year military operations'
Photo: AFP

Corsica's main militant group has said it will end "military operations".

France imposes three-month ban on making foie gras
Photo: AFP

Foie gras producers in France are in a flap, and your next serving of the delicacy may be pricey.

French minister fumes over Euro 2016 song in English
Photo: Screengrab YouTube/SkipTheUse

The team is French, the tournament is in France, but the official song is in English. Cue anger in the government.

Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
Proust's personal archives to go under the hammer in Paris
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
National
Who exactly are the masked rioters causing havoc across France?
French rail passengers must now pay to change their tickets
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Travel
Here are nine must-see landmarks in Paris you may have missed
Society
Paris makes love-lock bridge even more love-lock proof
Lifestyle
Parisians paying dearly for their bad 'parking'
Society
What's on in France: Ten great things to do in May
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Society
Protesters clash with police over France's new labour laws
National
French dangerously 'unprepared' for future natural disasters
Is it really safe to come to France for Euro 2016?
National
Salah Abdeslam: Pot-smoking 'little moron' is finally back in Paris
Rail strike: Passengers in France face major disruption
Cats in a cafe?!? Nine of the quirkiest things you can see in Paris
National
VIDEO: The moment a Paris suicide bomber blew himself up
National
Why there's another rail strike in France and why there will be more
National
Winter is coming (back). Why is France so cold right now?
National
WWI's Anzac Day heroes honoured in northern France service
Lifestyle
VIDEO: Did you know all these stars spoke great French?
Culture
How did the French end up with their 'crazy' numbers?
Politics
Why this man could become the next president of France
Society
VIDEO: Jewellers in southern France raided by... swarm of bees
Culture
Did you know the strange origins of these six French curse words?
Why are more and more people dying on French roads?
2,782
jobs available