Intelligence reports say there is a threat of a terrorist attack on US soil by an Al-Qaida-linked group based in Syria. But despite the Mideast country increasingly resembling a haven for terrorists, the US is still not convinced it wants to deal with the government. Fears of an attack were discussed Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Its possible source is believed to be the Al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front, which the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said “[has] aspirations for attacks on the homeland,” Reuters reported. Surrounded by other high-ranking US intelligence and security officials, Clapper on Wednesday discussed how Syria is becoming a terrorist haven after a prolonged three-year conflict.
He also compared the situation to Pakistan’s federally-administered tribal areas (FATA) – which became a safe haven for Al-Qaida leaders after the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001. “What’s going on there may be in some respects a new FATA force … and the attraction of these foreign fighters is very, very worrisome,” Clapper said, adding that more than 7,000 militants fighting in Syria now come from around 50 different countries. The figure was not freely circulated until the Wednesday meeting, being previously kept in top-secret intelligence reports, Clapper said. He added that training grounds for rebel militants have also been spotted and that hundreds of West Europeans and a few Americans have joined up with the rebel and received training. The news comes as US and European security officials said earlier this week that the US Congress had secretly approved more light arms deliveries for “moderate” factions fighting to oust President Bashar Assad. This practice, according to the officials, has been held up for months due to fears of the weapons falling into radical Islamist hands. More