Albania's defense minister says NATO has decided to open a center in Tirana to help prevent people from trying to join rebel groups in Syria and Iraq.

Minister Mimi Kodheli says Friday that Tirana's proposal was approved a few days ago by the alliance's 28 member countries at a time "when the phenomenon of the foreign terrorist fighters has reached considerable levels."

The center will train people from NATO member and partner countries to "understand the causes and reasons of radicalization of the citizens" and find ways to prevent that.

Both predominantly Muslim Albania and neighboring Kosovo, from where a few hundred people have joined rebel groups in Syria and Iraq, claim they have stopped that trend since last year.