Nearly 7,000 European foreign terrorist fighters left for Syria, Iraq since 2013
by Mehmet Çelik
ISTANBULOct 05, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Mehmet Çelik
Oct 05, 2016 12:00 am
A new report released by the Paris-based Center for the Analysis of Terror has revealed that nearly 7,000 foreign fighters from the European states have joined terror groups in Syria and Iraq since 2013.
According to the report, about 2,200 French citizens or residents are engaged in Syrian-Iraqi terror networks, including 700 who are in either Syria or Iraq.
Nearly 70 percent of the 7,000 European terrorist fighters come from either France, the U.K., or Germany. France consisted of 31 percent of the total with nearly 2,200 terrorist fighters, the U.K. consisted of 12 percent of the total with 1,700 terrorist fighters and Germany with 12 percent of the total with nearly 900 terrorists. The top three countries were followed by Belgium, Sweden, and Austria as the countries with the highest number of nationals or residents leaving for terror networks in Syria and Iraq.
Meanwhile, the report said that about 1,500 of those who left for Syria and Iraq have returned to the EU countries.
Most of the foreign fighters join Daish or al-Nusra terror groups in Syria or Iraq, while some also join the People's Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization.
The PKK is recognized as a terror organization by Turkey, the U.S. and also the EU.
While EU states blame Turkey for the passing of foreign fighters through its border to Syria and Iraq, Ankara has repeatedly asked the European countries for closer cooperation in sharing intelligence to stop those coming to Turkey with the intention of joining terror organizations in Syria and Iraq, however, until very recently this was limited.
The government has called on the European countries to increase cooperation in the fight against all terror groups along its 911-kilometer border with Syria and 384-kilmeter border with Iraq, while criticizing the West of picking-and-choosing between terror groups.
Turkey has also built a concrete wall to stop illegal crossings along its border with Syria, which is expected to be finished by early 2017, while keeping an open-door policy towards refugees.
In September 2014, the UNSC adopted the Resolution 2178, urging all member states in the U.N. to work towards stopping the "recruiting, organizing, transporting or equipping of individuals who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning of, or participation in terrorist acts."
According to official sources, through intelligence sharing Turkey added nearly 28,000 foreign terrorist fighters to the no-entry list in 2015, and more than 16,000 as of September in 2016. Meanwhile, as of September 2016, 51,976 individuals have been banned from entering Turkey due to suspicion of terror links since 2011.
The sources also said that as of September 2016, a total of 3710 foreign terrorist fighters have been deported from Turkey after the successful operations by the security forces.
Since 2014, the authorities deported 3165 foreign terrorists (as of September 2016) after being caught by the security forces, according to sources.