Foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria have doubled
The number of foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria has more than doubled since last year, a report by an intelligence consultancy said on Tuesday (Dec 8).
In all, between 27,000 and 31,000 foreign fighters from 86 countries have travelled to the two countries, The Soufan Group said, compared with 12,000 in 2014.
Of those, around 8,240 were from the Middle East, 8,000 were from North Africa, 5,000 were from Europe, 4,700 were from former Soviet republics, 900 were from South-east Asia, 875 were from the Balkans and 280 were from North America.
The report recorded only two foreign fighters from Singapore but noted that several others had been stopped from leaving Singapore before they could make their way to Syria or Iraq.
It also found that most of the 900 fighters from South-east Asia were from Indonesia and Malaysia. Since July 2014, the Islamic State has posted propaganda and recruitment videos aimed at persuading members of these two countries to take up the terrorist group's cause.
The Soufan Group said that between 20 and 30 per cent of foreign fighters were returning to their home countries, creating major challenges for domestic security agencies.