DUSHANBE, April 9, 2014, Asia-Plus -- A three-minute video showing five Tajiks burning Tajik passports in Syria has been posted on Youtube.

They reportedly arrived in Syria to fight on the side of rebels.  Those persons said that they would not return to Tajikistan.  They called themselves the first citizens of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ad-Dawla al-Islamiyya fi al-Iraq wa-sh-Sham).

According to international media sources, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, abbreviated as ISIS, is a group active in Iraq and Syria.

BBC, in particular, notes that ISIS was formed in April 2013 and grew out of al-Qaeda''s affiliate organization in Iraq.  It has since become one of the main jihadist groups fighting government forces in Syria.  Its precise size is unknown, but it is thought to include thousands of fighters, including many foreign jihadists.  Analysts say non-Syrians constitute a majority of ISIS''s elite fighter corps and are disproportionately represented in its leadership.

We will recall that in December, Tajikistan''s Supreme Court sentenced five of the country''s citizens to around two years in jail for fighting on the side of antigovernment forces in Syria.  The five were reportedly students at the Syrian International University who decided to join Syrian rebel forces.  All five were detained in October when they returned to Tajikistan.  Since Tajikistan does not have a law against “mercenaries,” the five were charged with “participation in a criminal group or in other armed groups.”

In a statement released in December last year, Syrian mufti noted that more than 190 Tajik are fighting in Syria on the side of rebel forces.

An article by Rami Suwaid posted on an independent Arabic online newspaper Elaph in January this year says that the 9-year-old Tajik boy Ahmad participates in the fighting in Syria.  The article says that in addition to his native Tajik, Ahmad also speaks Turkish, Arabic and Russian.  He reportedly acts as interpreter for militants from Chechnya (Russia), Turkey and other countries who arrived in Syria to fight on the side of antigovernment forces.  The author notes that in his spare time Ahmad plays with children of his age.  According to the article, many small and large training grounds have been set up in various regions of Syria at which children and teens are being trained.  The author stresses that children and teens from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Malaysia are currently fighting in Syria on the side of rebel forces.

Last year, there were reports that several Tajik nationals were killed in fighting in Syria.