July 3, 2014

In January 2014 the French Secret Service identified more than seven hundred individuals believed to be involved in the “Franco-Syrian conflict.” In recent months, the French government, along with the European Union, has promised to take steps to curb the spread of jihad in European countries. The French state promises to “reinforce the cooperation between state services” in order to implement an intelligence network that would support the Secret Service. This information sharing would include cooperation between local housing authorities, job centers, and even middle and high schools, with the former being able to identify nascent threats. The goal is to “tighten the net” in order to reduce the number of Frenchmen leaving to fight in Syria.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls spoke of the “hundreds and hundreds of Europeans and Frenchmen who are currently fighting in Syria. In France there are over eight hundred individuals who are involved in the conflict: because they are fighting, because they have died (more than thirty), because they have recently returned, because they want to go. We have never been confronted with such a challenge: it’s without a doubt the most pressing threat.”

Valls stated that the anti-terrorism legislation, passed at the end of 2012, would be modified at the beginning of July. Any changes to the law would be aimed at reinforcing preventative measures and the ability to monitor families whose members are potential threats. He stressed the need for legislative changes so that judges can act to further curb terrorism.

After six presumed Frenchmen were successfully stopped from returning to Syria at the beginning of June, Bernard Cazeneuve spoke of the “government’s complete determination to fight with all its strength against terrorism and the teaching of radical violence to young people.”

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