UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

31k foreigners have joined militants in Syria: Ex-UK spy chief

Iran Press TV

Tue Dec 8, 2015 6:44PM

The number of foreigners joining the ranks of Takfiri militant groups in Syria has more than doubled over the past months, a former British spy chief says.

As many as 31,000 foreigners have traveled to Syria to fight alongside the militant groups operating inside the Arab country during the past 18 months, Richard Barrett, a former head of global counter-terrorism at the UK's Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, said in a report.

He added that Daesh has been one of the most appealing terror groups for foreign militants, describing other extremists groups in comparison with Daesh as "conventional and even old-fashioned."

Barrett, who is now senior vice president of a New York intelligence consultancy, named the Soufan Group, noted that the number of foreigners joining Daesh militants in Syria and Iraq "has doubled, despite the effort to prevent them [from] doing so."

Foreign militants are from across 86 different states ranging from Norway to Uzbekistan with most of them coming from Middle East and African countries

A large number of militants are nationals of Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and the former Soviet Union, while about 5,000 have flocked into Syria from the European Union.

Daesh extremists currently control parts of Syria and Iraq. They have carried out atrocious crimes in the two Arab countries, including mass executions and beheading of people.

Militants affiliated with the group have also claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in November in the French capital, Paris, in which 130 people were killed and also the October downing of a Russian passenger plane over Egypt's Sinai region that claimed 224 lives. They have vowed to launch more attacks on the West and Russia.

A US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against purported Daesh positions inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate since September 2014. The mission has fallen severely short of dislodging the terrorists.

Moscow has also been carrying out air raids against the Takfiris, including Daesh terrorists, in Syria since September 30, upon a request from the Syrian government.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list