Nearly a twofold rise over the past year in the number of foreigners leaving their home nations to join extremist groups in Iraq and Syria

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‘Not enough has been done by Western countries to stem the flow of foreign fighters entering Syria & Iraq’

Nearly a twofold rise over the past year in the number of foreigners leaving their home nations to join extremist groups in Iraq and Syria

Since the very beginning of the nearly four and a half year old conflict we have seen a steady flow of people leaving to join extremist groups inside the middle east and around the globe. The numbers reported by The New York times show how efforts taken or lack thereof has led to a rise in the number of foreign nationals going abroad to fight.

Anonymous US intelligence officials were cited as having estimated people to have came from over 100 countries to join groups in Iraq and Syria, most of which would join Islamic State(ISIS). US intelligence since autumn 2015 put the number of foreign fighters inside Syria at 30,000 over one year,  coming from countries spanning the globe. Government figures were last publicly assessed several months ago at around 25,000.

The numbers paint a bleak picture of how ineffective efforts by the US and other nations have been to curtail the amount of people leaving to join terrorist groups. Intelligence agencies inside the US last year estimated a number of 15,000 foreign fighters had entered Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011.

This coming Tuesday will see the release of a six month bipartisan US congressional investigation into suspected terrorist and fighter travel. It is clear that efforts taken by the Anti-ISIS coalition spearheaded by the US has had little to no effect in hampering the Islamic States ability to recruit members into their ranks.

 

Gerard Dinnen

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