Nearly 30,000 Foreign Fighters Went to Syria and Iraq: Report

About 30,000 foreign fighters, including 250 Americans, have travelled to Iraq and Syria since 2011 with most of them looking to join the dreaded Islamic State terror group, according to a media report.

Published: 27th September 2015 05:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th September 2015 05:25 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

NEW YORK: About 30,000 foreign fighters, including 250 Americans, have travelled to Iraq and Syria since 2011 with most of them looking to join the dreaded Islamic State terror group, according to a media report.            

There has been a doubling of volunteers in just the past 12 months which gives stark evidence that an international effort to tighten borders, share intelligence and enforce anti-terrorism laws is not diminishing the ranks of new militant fighters, the New York Times reported.        

Among those who have entered or tried to enter the conflict in Iraq or Syria are more than 250 Americans, up from about 100 a year ago, the report said citing intelligence and law enforcement officials.        

American intelligence analysts have been preparing a confidential assessment that concludes that nearly 30,000 foreign fighters have travelled to Iraq and Syria from more than 100 countries since 2011, the report said.         

A year ago, the same officials estimated that flow to be about 15,000 combatants from 80 countries, mostly to join the Islamic State.       

That grim appraisal coincides with the scheduled release on Tuesday of a six-month, bipartisan congressional investigation into terrorist and foreign fighter travel, which concludes that "despite concerted efforts to stem the flow" the US has largely failed to stop Americans from travelling overseas to join jihadists.   

The focus on shortcomings in the global effort to combat the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is playing out as tens of thousands of refugees flee strife in the Middle East and North Africa, including many seeking to escape the violence in Syria and oppression in areas under the control of the terror group.            

Despite Pentagon reports that coalition strikes have killed about 10,000 Islamic State fighters, the group continues to replenish its ranks, drawing an average of about 1,000 fighters a month, the report said.            

The government several months ago last publicly assessed the flow at "more than 25,000", including at least 4,500 from the West.    Given the region's porous borders, American officials emphasise that their figures are rough estimates not precise head counts, based on allies' reports on citizens' travel and other intelligence, which vary by country.           

In Britain, more than 750 people have travelled to take part in terrorist-related activity in Syria and Iraq, up from about 500 a year ago. About half of those have returned home, raising fears that they could carry out attacks on British soil.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp