France was jubilant this weekend at the return of four journalists held captive in Syria for more than 10 months.
But joy at their release was tinged with alarm as it emerged that some of their captors spoke French.
It is well-known that thousands of young men have left European countries to join Islamist rebels fighting in Syria. And as the conflict drags on the numbers are growing with some recruits as young as 15 or 16.
Speaking after the reporters’ safe return to Paris, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said:
“There are French, Belgians, Italians, a whole range of Europeans including French citizens who have left to fight Jihad in Syria, as they say.”
A new video posted online on Sunday, purportedly showing the living quarters of Islamist rebels in Syria, is introduced by a man with a distinct London accent.
Despite the basic conditions he describes, images on social media are being used to attract new recruits.
This weekend’s video was posted just days after 18-year-old Briton Abdullah Deghayes was reported dead after going to fight in Syria. He was said to have been there with his two brothers.
For those who survive the fighting, the fear is that they will return battle-hardened, fuelled by a hatred of Western values, and with insurgency skills that could be used on home soil.