The leadership of al-Qaeda terrorist group made a decision to increase its presence in Syria and create a permanent headquarters in the Middle Eastern nation, US media reported.

The New York Times reported Sunday, citing US and European intelligence and counterterrorism officials that al-Qaeda reconsidered the importance of Syria for the group and relocated a number of “most seasoned veterans” there from Pakistan to create an alternate headquarters.

The newspaper added that al-Qaeda would use the resources and the potential of the Nusra Front, the group’s affiliate in Syria, to increase its presence in the country.

According to the newspaper, the headquarters in Syria would allow al-Qaeda to have a base near the European borders, but also to recruit new fighters from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with the army loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting several opposition factions and militant groups, Nusra Front, which is banned in many countries including Russia.