Europe face Security disaster if ISIS jihadists return home, Syrian deputy FM warns

EUROPE will face a security “disaster” if jihadis from the EU currently fighting in Syria return home, according to a Syrian minister.

Some 5,000 EU nationals are currently fighting in Syria among the ranks of ISIS and other jihadist groups, according to a senior Syrian official, who warns it’ll be a disaster for European security if these militants are allowed to return.

Speaking to Sputnik, Mr Susan said: “We have statistics that about 5,000 terrorists fighting in Syria have come from the EU countries.

“Imagine that these five thousand terrorists will return to Europe — they can do it… This will be a disaster for the security and stability of European countries and their population.”

The EU has for years been well aware of the threat posed by European Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and other fighters who are returning from combat zones of the so-called caliphate of Syria and Iraq.

While it is believed that the number of foreign fighters diminished throughout the course of Russian and American anti-ISIS campaigns, the US-based Soufan Group analytical center indicates that around 1,800 individuals had left France to join the fighting as of October 2015.

Another 760 fighters traveled to IS battlegrounds from the United Kingdom and 760 from Germany. At least 470 fighters came from Belgium. When the contribution from other EU states is considered, the total number of EU jihadist soldiers is way over 5,000.

The Dutch-based International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT), said in their last year’s report that more than 4,200 foreign fighters from EU Member States are now fighting in Syria and Iraq. The NGO believes that around 30 percent have returned to their home countries.

In 2015, just after Russia began its anti-IS campaign in Syria at the invitation of Damascus, the Soufan Group calculated that up to 31,000 foreigners from at least 86 countries were fighting for Islamic State and other violent extremist groups in Syria and Iraq.

Fighters coming from Russia and CIS countries formed a significant number at the start of the Russian campaign in Syria, when the Russian MoD estimated that roughly 7,000 foreign terrorists in Syria were from Russia and other former Soviet nations.

The number of potential returnees has decreased dramatically with over 2,000 of them neutralized in the first 6 months of Russia’s pin-point strikes conducted in tandem with the Syrian military’s anti-terrorist operations on the ground.

The number of potential returnees has decreased dramatically with over 2,000 of them neutralized in the first 6 months of Russia’s pin-point strikes conducted in tandem with the Syrian military’s anti-terrorist operations on the ground.