No conflict since 1945 has attracted as many fighters from other countries
The number of foreign fighters who have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight in the Muslim-vs.-Muslim civil war there now has been estimated at 20,730, making it the “largest mobilization of foreign fighters in Muslim majority countries since 1945,” according to a new report.
And officials with the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence, a project of London’s King’s College, the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University and the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel, say the combatants have been involved with either ISIS or Jabhat al-Nusra, a branch of al-Qaida.
The organization said the figures also were reached after consultation with the Munich Security Conference.
The fighters are identified as coming from 50 different nations, including some 4,000 from the dozen-plus nations of Western Europe.
“This is nearly double the figure we presented in December 2013, and exceeds the latest estimates by European Union officials,” the report said.
The report said 1,200 of the fighters have come from France, and another 500-600 each from the United Kingdom and Germany. But Belgium produced the highest per capita participation, with 40 fighters per million population, it said.
“With up to 11,000, the Middle East remains the dominant source of foreigners in the conflict. Another 3,000 were from countries of the former Soviet Union,” the report said.
The number of foreigners who have fought, or are fighting, in the regional political and religious clash “now surpasses the Afghanistan conflict in the 1980s, which is thought to have attracted up to 20,000 foreigners,” the institute reported.
From the rest of the world, Tunisia is thought to have allowed up to 3,000 to go to fight jihad, while the number attributed to Saudi Arabia is up to 2,500. Jordan, Russia and Morocco are thought to have allowed up to 1,500 to go each.
Written by WND
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