Syrian security forces arrested two more people suspected of belonging to a “terror group,” but a U.S. official said Wednesday the suspects appeared to be jewelry thieves rather than terrorists.
The two arrested were identified as Mohammad Islam bin Abdul-Rahman Ahmad al-Semadi, a 30-year-old Jordanian who the official Syrian news agency said was also known as Raafat, and Rehab Shehab, a woman whose nationality was not disclosed.
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Syrians are increasing assistance to foreign fighters preparing to enter Iraq and kill civilians and U.S. troops, despite months of pressure on Damascus from Washington to crack down on the jihadists.
A U.S. official said recent intelligence shows that Syria is the home to Web sites that exhort militants to come to the country for preparation to fight and die in Iraq.
Syrians also are providing barracks-like housing as the recruits from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Morocco and other Muslim countries prepare for a jihad, or holy war. The fighters also receive weapons, training and money in Syria.