En jihadist från Storbritannien som strider i Syrien för Jabhat al-Nusrah berättar för Reuters om varifrån de utländska krigarna kommer och i vilken miljö de hamnar.
"Abu Khaled joined Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria which the United States calls a "terrorist organization," because he was drawn to its piety and determination to fight Assad. A sense of community encouraged him to stay.
When he arrived he found other foreigners in the brigades. Englishmen from London and Birmingham, an Irishman, Russians from the Chechnya region, Chinese, Egyptians, Tunisians, Saudi Arabians, Libyans, others from Denmark, France, and, he says to his surprise, a lot from Sweden. Sometimes as many as half the fighters on the front line were foreign, he said. The Libyans and Saudis, especially, never wanted to retreat.
He lived in a barracks, which the group called a "house," set up in an abandoned school, villa or hospital to house 40 or 50 men. The atmosphere was fraternal. Abu Khaled would wake up, pray, exercise, train, play football and chat about women. "A lot of the time you're just sitting around waitin' till something pops up and then off you go."
He didn't think much about al Qaeda, he said. He just wanted to be a good Muslim. One thing that unsettled him was the suicide bombs. In his house, there was a "waiting list" of people who volunteered to blow themselves up. Once, a man from his house killed himself in a truck bomb. Abu Khaled didn't know beforehand, but he remembered the man acted differently the night before. He seemed happier."