US Monitoring Foreign Fighter Forces

The activities of “foreign fighter” forces, including al Qaeda, are of “great concern” to both US forces and European allies, Gen. Philip Breedlove, head of US European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon on Monday. Specifically, Breedlove is worried about foreign operatives traveling to Europe after stints in Middle East conflict zones. “I think this worries all of the nations of Europe about the capability of these foreign fighters returning, and so the flow from all of these areas, from Yemen, … from western Iraq, and eastern Syria into Europe is a very distinct problem, and we are working to address that flow.” Breedlove said officials also are concerned about the forces’ abilities to develop evasive weapons systems that go undetected by US and European security systems, noting he is paying particular attention to threats “along the Turkish border.” He added, “We’re concerned about all of the operations by all of the players on the south side of that border that would cause anything to cross it or increase the flow of foreign fighters or any of the things that could affect us in Europe,” Breedlove said, adding that any encroachment of Turkey’s border would warrant US and NATO defense. (Breedlove transcript.)