US afraid of retaliation by Syrian Americans

US afraid of retaliation by Syrian Americans
Sun Sep 1, 2013 12:17:30

The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is keeping Syrian Americans under surveillance fearing retaliatory attacks inside the US following the White House’s decision to strike Syria.

Unnamed American officials said the FBI increased its surveillance of Syrians, saying the war on Syria could lead to terrorist attacks, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

“The field offices know what they have in terms of sources and investigations, but this is a directive for them to redouble their efforts and check their traps,” a senior American official was quoted on condition of anonymity.

A classified bulletin was also sent by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to alert federal, state and local law enforcement officials of potential threats created by the Syria conflict, the officials said.

According to the report, senior national security officials at FBI headquarters in Washington have told the bureau’s field offices in recent days to follow up with sources that have ties to Syrians in an attempt to find talk or evidence of a retaliatory strike.

Syrians implicated in continuing investigations will be put under even closer scrutiny, the officials said.

FBI agents are set to interview hundreds of Syrians in the coming days.

The US paved the way for military action after Secretary of State John Kerry accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons, an allegation denied by Damascus as baseless.

On Saturday, President Barack Obama confirmed his decision to strike Syria on his own, but he said he was choosing to bring in Congress after he faced worldside opopsition.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million of others displaced due to the violence.


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