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Iraqi official warns jihadi territory can rise in Syria

MANAMA, Bahrain — Iraq’s top diplomat warned Saturday that the ‘‘toxic’’ proliferation of extremist groups among Syria’s rebels raises the prospect of a jihadist-ruled territory at the heart of the region.

The comments by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari reflect Iraq’s fears that the Syrian conflict is imperiling its fragile domestic security, as well as growing international alarm about the risk posed by waves of foreign fighters bolstering the ranks of armed groups fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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Zebari told attendees at a security conference inBahrain that the increase in radical fighters among the Syrian rebels is leading toward the creation of an ungovernable ‘‘Islamic emirate’’ that the world will have to deal with down the road.

‘‘The most important danger coming out of the Syria conflict for Iraq . . . and for the region is the mushrooming of terrorist groups and fronts in Syria,’’ Zebari said.

‘‘These are armies of recruits,’’ he continued. ‘‘They’re not all Syrians. There are European nationals. Some of them have come as far as from Australia, from Canada, and from many other countries. This is really toxic.’’

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