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July 16, 2013

Pakistani Taliban Sending Hundreds to Fight in Syria

Pakistani Taliban commanders are claiming to have set up camps in Syria and sent hundreds of men to fight alongside Sunni rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Senior commanders of the Pakistan-based Tehrik-e-Taliban referred to the Syrian rebels this week as the Taliban's "Muslim brothers" and "Arab friends." One commander vowed to issue videos of the Pakistani Taliban's victories in Syria.

The news is not the first report of foreign Sunni fighters flocking to Syria to join what they see as a holy war against Shi'ite Muslims. The influx of foreign fighters further complicates U.S. efforts to help the rebels, especially as it considers arming Syrians fighting against the Assad government.

However, at least one Pakistani Taliban commander has denied the reports of setting up camps in Syria. He told the French News agency that only a few militants have left to fight in Syria, and those were mostly Arab and Central Asian fighters.