French fears over 'another Syria' as 150 fighters head to Ukraine

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Fighters have been arriving from all corners of the planet to help defend Ukraine itself against the Russian invasion. Mediapart has been told that these foreign fighters include around 150 from France. The authorities in Paris meanwhile worry there could be a repeat of the problems seen during the Syrian war when French fighters went to combat Bashar al-Assad's regime – and came back radicalised. Sébastien Bourdon and Matthieu Suc report.

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On his Instagram profile 'Miguel' – not his real name – posts photos of cars, souvenirs of his travels and selfies of him smiling, some of them in the uniform of a Brazilian firefighter. On December 27th 2021 the South American posed for a photo in the Paris region, a short distance from the entrance to Fort de Nogent in the eastern suburbs of Paris, which is home to the recruitment office of the French Foreign Legion. Two months later and it was the uniform of another foreign legion that he donned in the end: the International Legion created in Ukraine for foreigners answering the appeal for help by President Volodymyr Zelensky.