JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Jihadist training camps of Syria are a long way from France, but a steady steady stream of young volunteers volunteers connects the two. French Authorities estimate estimate that more than 900 French citizens have joined the Islamic Fundamentalists in Iraq and Syria and those back home haven't a clue how to deal with deal with it.
Take Dominique Bons, former former French soldier. Her son Nicolas converted to Islam four years ago, he became more and more devour, devour, but never spoke about joining a religious war. Then the 30 year old told his mother he was going on vacation vacation with his half brother. Three weeks later, later, he called saying the pair was in Syria. Days after that, the half brother had been killed and then Nicolas called one last time to tell his mother she would be notified if anything happens to happens to him. In late December, came the text message, Nicolas had been killed in what was called an explosives operation. She can only imagine what happened.
DOMINIQUE BONS, MOTHER (translated): The body? There is no body, I don't have a body. He was killed in a truck filled with explosives and the body, boom.
JIM BITTERMANN: What's more, since there is no body, there is no death certificate. Officially, in France, Nicolas is still alive. For his mother, he will always be.
DOMINIQUE BONS: "You will exist exist in my heart eternally. eternally. I love you my son."
JIM BITTERMANN: A French bus driver knows his 23 year old daughter is still alive, but worries worries for how long? He won't show his or her face fearing for her safety. She married Indonesian and converted to Islam. Couple Couple moved to Syria with their two young children to do, they said humanitarian work. But both she and her father fear she could be arrested if she comes back comes back to France. She wrote on Face book that she's safe, but the father believes she is in Raqqah, currently being bombed by the coalition coalition and he has a warning for parents.
FRENCH BUS DRIVER: Pay attention, it could happen to happen to you before you even know it.
JIM BITTERMANN: For author, David Thomson and many others here, one of the most baffling baffling things is why French young people are willing to put their lives at risk for a cause not really their own. He believes there could be multiple answers.
DAVID THOMSON, AUTHOR "FRENCH JIHADISTS" (translated): Religious frustration is material frustration. It is perhaps perhaps a feeling that would be a sin to stay back in France, a desire to experience this historic moment and die fighting the coalition.
JIM BITTERMANN: All of those things might have influence. Nora El Bathy, at 16 years old, she was recruited and given a plane ticket to Syria to join the fight, according according to French intelligence. Her brother, Fouad, has spent the last nine months, trying to get her back. He has convinced she is being held against held against her will and took the risky step of trying to free her. At one point, he was taken captive captive himself and later later released. But in April, he did meet her briefly.
Fouad El Bathy (translated): I told her to come back come back with me, but she cried and beat her head against the wall and said, "I can't, I can't."
Jim Bittermann: Later Later Fouad was told, the leader of the group wanted to marry her. Since she is a minor, her lawyer hopes that if she does make it back, he can persuade persuade French officials to treat her as a victim victim and not a combatant.
If there is a common threat threat you hear again and again in the stories about the Jihadist recruited in France, it is the helplessness relatives feel about dealing with the situation.
Dominique Bons has created an association which others have now joined to publicize what's happened to happened to their loved ones, hoping to get a video message in the schools and on the social networks about the realities and dangers of the Muslim extremists. extremists. It might help she says, but in her case, it's too late.
Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.