Around 2,400 Tunisians fighting in Syria: ministry
ighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria - AP

 TUNIS: At least 2,400 Tunisian jihadists are fighting in Syria, most of them rebels affiliated to the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Tunisia’s interior minister said Monday.

“According to what we have gathered, there are 2,400 Tunisians who have gone to Syria to fight with Al Nusra Front and the majority of them — 80 percent — with (ISIL),” Lotfi Ben Jeddou told reporters, without specifying his source.

In February, the minister said Tunisian authorities had prevented 8,000 people from travelling to Syria, while some 400 Tunisians had already returned from fighting there.

ISIL, one of the main forces battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, controls certain key regions in northern and northeast Syria and has cut a swathe through northern Iraq in recent weeks.

It is also the most extreme jihadist group in Syria, aiming to create an Islamic state the straddles the border with Iraq but renowned for its abuses of civilians.

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