BRUSSELS, Belgium — A Syrian man has been arrested in Belgium on suspicion of participating in terrorist activities after he was found to be in possession of videos showing killings linked to a jihadist group, his lawyer said on Saturday.
The 25-year-old man, who has not been named, was detained after he arrived at Charleroi Airport in Brussels on Tuesday during a search of his possessions.
Two fake French passports and a USB stick containing video clips of killings and jihadist propaganda were found in his belongings, according to lawyer Thomas Piccini.
Belgian authorities proceeded to arrest him on Friday suspecting he may have links to the Al-Nusra Front — an Al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadist group active in Syria’s civil war.
Piccini said his client denies having any links to jihadist groups, and claims to be a journalist who was held hostage by the Al-Nusra front before escaping.
The man said he arrived in Belgium after travelling via Turkey and Greece, and wanted to go to Sweden to pursue a degree in journalism, according to Piccini.
The news of the arrest came as a French-Moroccan man recently deported from Turkey was arrested on Saturday upon arrival in France.
The man was arrested at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris as part of a preliminary investigation for “criminal association with a view to preparing terrorist acts,” the French interior ministry said in a statement.
EU countries have become increasingly concerned about the “blowback” threat posed by European-born Islamists returning from fighting in Syria with combat experience and the weapons expertise required to carry out terrorist attacks.
France and Belgium recently agreed to step up cooperation on the issue in the wake of a deadly shooting at a Jewish Museum in Brussels.
Mehdi Nemmouche, a Frenchman who spent more than a year fighting in Syria, was last month charged with the attack, in which four people were killed.