“They have sexual relations with 20, 30, 100” militants, the minister told members of the National Constituent Assembly.
“After the sexual liaisons they have there in the name of ‘jihad al-nikah’ — (sexual holy war, in Arabic) — they come home pregnant,” Ben Jeddou told the MPs.
He did not elaborate on how many Tunisian women had returned to the country pregnant with the children of jihadist fighters.
Jihad al-nikah, permitting extramarital sexual relations with multiple partners, is considered by some hardline Sunni Muslim Salafists as a legitimate form of holy war.
The minister also did not say how many Tunisian women were thought to have gone to Syria for such a purpose, although media reports have said hundreds have done so.
Hundreds of Tunisian men have also gone to join jihadists fighting to bring down president Bashar al-Assad. However, Ben Jeddou also said that since he assumed office in March, “six thousand of our young people have been prevented from going” to Syria.
Media reports say thousands of Tunisians have, over the past 15 years, joined jihadists across the world in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, mainly travelling via Turkey or Libya.
Meanwhile, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says it has received an “initial declaration” from Syria outlining its weapons programme.
Spokesman Michael Luhan said the declaration is “being reviewed by our verification division”.
The OPCW is looking at ways to fast-track moves to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities.
However, a meeting scheduled for tomorrow at which the organisation’s executive council was to have discussed a US-Russian plan to rid Syria of chemical weapons was postponed.