Aussies fighting in Syria pose 'threat', says foreign minister Bob Carr

FOREIGN Minister Bob Carr has said an increase in the number of Australians believed to be fighting in Syria marks a significant potential threat to national security and confirmed the Gillard government is currently looking at banning new terrorist organizations.

The Weekend Australian revealed that Australia's spy agency ASIO holds fears at least half of the now 200 Australians believed to be in fighting in Syria are fighting for radical al-Qa'ida offshoot, the al-Nusra Front.

It was also reported the Gillard government was preparing to ban al-Nusra, which has emerged as one of the most formidable brigades in the disparate coalition of groups that makes up the Syrian 'opposition".

Speaking on Sky News' Australian Agenda this morning, Senator Carr said it was a "big" concern that Australians were fighting in Syria, which had "without a doubt" become a magnet for jihadists.

"We are all aware of it and I probably can't go further because I can't comment of matters of security and intelligence but the relevant agencies are fully appraised of this," he said.

"There is a big investment of time and resources going into it, it is clearly a potential threat to Australia," he told the program.

Senator Carr said Australia had to "be deeply concerned" with the influence of al-Qa'ida affiliates within the Syrian "Opposition".

He said Australia was currently having discussions with international allies about whether it would be necessary to proscribe new groups as terror organizations.

M.D

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