Spokesman for Tunisia’s growing jihadist movement Mohamed Anees el-Shayeb has denied receiving money to recruit young Tunisians to fight in Syria, following reports mosques nationwide were encouraging young people to fight in the two-year conflict there.
El-Shayeb also made pains to deny links with the country’s ruling Islamist Ennahda party.
The Tunisian Salafist leader told Arabstoday the conflict in Syria represented jihad, particularly following reports of civilian massacres perpetrated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
“We recruit Tunisian youth in different ways,” el-Shayeb revealed. “They coordinate with young people already in Syria to facilitate the entry of others.”
“These people going to Syria are cultured people working in a range of positions, including professors, doctors and engineers.”
El-Shayeb renewed his criticism of the Syrian regime, claiming it works as an Iranian “puppet” that attacked its own people instead of Israel.
El-Shayeb’s remarks come the same day Libyan authorities detained five young Tunisians, reportedly intending to travel to Syria via Turkey to join the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) ranks.