NEW DELHI: Government has no clue yet about the identity of four Indian youths held in Syria for allegedly planning to join dreaded terror group ISIS but suspects that they might have been based in some Gulf countries from where they travelled to Damascus.
Government officials said they were totally off guard when Syrian Deputy Prime minister Walid Al Moaulem, who was on a three-day visit to India last week, disclosed that the four Indian youths were taken into custody for allegedly planning to join ISIS.
"We have no idea who the youths are, from where they originally hail from. We suspect they might have gone from some Gulf countries. We are still verifying their antecedents," an official said.
During the delegation level meeting, when the Indian officials asked the Syrian Deputy Prime Minister to give details of the four youths, he is said to have said that he was not police and did not know the details.
Moaulem had said: "Four Indians were taken into Syrian custody in Damascus. The four young Indians were planning to join the ISIS and had entered Syria from Jordan". According to Indian intelligence agencies, a total of 23 Indians have so far joined the ISIS of which six were reportedly killed in different incidents.
Among the 23 include, two absconding members of the banned Indian Mujahideen who had gone from their hideouts in Pakistan. The dead were identified as Athif Vaseem Mohammad (Adilabad, Telangana), Mohammad Umar Subhan (Bangalore, Karnataka), Maulana Abdul Kadir Sultan Armar (Bhatkal, Karnataka), Saheem Farooque Tanki (Thane, Maharashtra), Faiz Masood (Bangalore, Karnataka) and Mohammad Sajid alias Bada Sajid (Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh).
As many as 30 other Indians, who were radicalised by ISIS elements, were prevented from travelling to the conflict zone in the Middle-East. Among those who are currently fighting for ISIS include two youths from Kalyan in the outskirts of Mumbai, an Australia-based Kashmiri, one youth from Telangana, one from Karnataka, one Oman-based Indian and another Singapore-based Indian.
On September 15, 2015, the UAE deported four Indians suspected to have links with ISIS. The UAE had also sent back in September last year a 37-year-old woman, Afsha Jabeen alias Nicky Joseph, who was allegedly involving in recruiting youths for ISIS.