" And fight them until there
is no more remains of association, and religion is for Allah.". A portrait of the foreign fighters of the uprising in Syria.
war in Syria prompted the intervention of thousands of foreign
fighters who came to support the rebels fighting against Bashar al
-Assad. The attention of the West focuses , of course, those who are
fighting to groups linked to al- Qaeda , and that could potentially
pose a threat in these countries, but also remember that foreign
intervention is probably much greater in favor of Bashar al- Assad.
This article aims to outline an overall picture of the phenomenon of
foreign fighters who came to fight in Syria alongside the insurgency
in order to disassemble some received ideas and provide detailed
examples that help to better understand the reality of the phenomenon
, from reliable sources.
Foreign volunteers in Syria, how many divisions ?"
Europe , the influx of foreign volunteers alongside the rebels began
to worry from spring 2013. The Independent estimated 100 Britons are
already parties; Figaro talking about 50-80 French ; Der Spiegel
evokes dozens of Germans and Jyllands -Poste speaks 45 Danes. The
Netherlands raise their alert due to the return of some at country,
among the hundred or more Muslims who went to fight in Syria.
At this time, it is between 140 and 600 Europeans who have gone to
fight the insurgents , or 7-11 % of total foreigners volunteers.
April 2013 , Aaron Zelin estimated the total number of foreign
volunteers parties in Syria since 2011 2 000-2 500 , of which 135 to
590 Europeans. There were between 70-441 even on site, of those, at
that time . On 249 records of martyrs from Syrian jihadist groups ,
only 8 (3 %) concerned Europeans. In fact, foreign fighters represent
no more than 10% of the insurrection, and probably less . In November
2013 , Thomas Hegghamer spoke of 1 100 -1 700 West Europeans parties
in Syria , which according to him is already more than all the other
contingents conflicts between 1990 and 2010. The phenomenon ,
overall, seems to accelerate throughout 2013.
the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung,
citing a study published by The International Centre for the Study
of Radicalisation , refers to total 11,000 foreign fighters in
Syria, whose 1800 Western Europeans (240 Germans) . The study,
published on December 17 finally,
actually confirms these figures : 11 000 foreign volunteers from 74
different nations since 2011 , the number of Western Europeans has
tripled since April 2013 , from 600 to over 1900 . The range will be
between 3,300 and 11,000 fighters , and the total is probably over
8500 . The West Europeans now constitute 18% of the contingent , led
by France, the United Kingdom , Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Based on the total population , the figures are the highest for
Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands. The Middle East continue to
provide almost 70 % of foreign volunteers , the largest contingent
from Jordan , Saudi Arabia , Tunisia, Lebanon and Libya , but the
numbers here are probably less reliable. The Balkans and the former
Soviet republics provide the last big contingent. In any case,
despite this increase , the number of foreign fighters is not more
than 10% of the insurgency, which amounts to at least 100,000 men.
the sunni rebels, there has probably been in at least 5,000 foreign
fighters , a wide range leading to 10,000 or a little more, this
figure covers all those who have arrived since 2011, many have been
already killed, arrested or departed.
The mobilization of this pool still remains unprecedented , even
compared to that in Iraq against Americans or against the Soviets in
Afghanistan. The majority of volunteers come from Arab countries -
Saudi Arabia , Tunisia and Libya , mainly , with perhaps more Iraqis
than what we can know. Western Europe provides the second largest
contingent led by Britain, France , Belgium and the Netherlands ,
according to Zelin , in early 2013. There are also fewer volunteers
in the Balkans , the Caucasus and other regions of the world ,
totaling over 60 countries from which come these Sunni fighters. Most
of these fighters come to the most radical Islamist factions, in the
first place ISIS and forehead al- Nosra but also Salafi groups like
Ahrar al -Sham . They are also a good part of armed groups linked
directly or indirectly to ISIS or al- Nosra as Army Muhajirin wa
-Ansar Battalions Suqqour al- Ezz , Sham al -Islam movement, the
battalion Green the brigade Umma and Jund al -Sham .
foreign volunteers have little experience and first go through
training camps . Some have already been trained in camps in North
Africa , such as those established by Ansar al -Sharia in Libya or
other Islamist militias. There is also , however , veterans of
Afghanistan , Bosnia , Chechnya , Yemen and Libya . The majority of
Syrian or foreign jihadists consider the Chechens as the most
experienced , after twenty years of war against Russia. But Caucasian
volunteers come mostly from Europe and also have little experience
than others, generally . Those who spoke first on the battlefield
often had the most impact . The army Muhajrin wa -Ansar , related
ISIS , has played a key role in taking the airbase Minnagh in August
2013. Other formations of foreign volunteers attacked furiously in
the region of Latakia , in the heart of Alawite countries ,
proceeding killings of Alawites in gained areas. The brutality of the
regime of Bashar al -Assad has probably led to a radicalization of
those who came to fight in Syria. In addition, the jihadists are
better funded than the other actors of the insurgency, they have much
more attracted . It seems that the Tunisian fighters , taking
advantage of the experience of Ansar al -Sharia , have help prepare a
program of proselytizing ( da'wa ) to ISIS . This program aims
to break the negative image that the organization had since the war
in Iraq and to attract the benevolence of the inhabitants . This is
also why this program is for children and adolescents 8-16 years.
volunteers : a contribution to TTP's global jihad ?
commanders of Tehrik -i- Taliban Pakistan ( TTP) indicated having
sent militants to Syria to fight the regime of Bashar al - Assad
. Mohammed Amin, the coordinator of the TTP for Syria, has said that
his organization had established a base in Syria with the help of
veterans of Afghanistan. A middle-ranking commander of the TTP
justify sending militants by the fact that Shiites would also
recruited by Iran to Pakistan to fight alongside the regime of Bashar
al -Assad. The network responsible for delivering the volunteers in
Syria is held jointly by the TTP and the Laschkar -i- Jangvi (LJ) ,
both affiliated to al- Qaeda groups. It would have sent 100 to 150
men. Abdul Rashid Abbasi, near the head of the TTP , Hakimullah
Mehsud , said that 120 Pakistani soldiers were in Syria and that they
were under orders from the local command of al- Qaeda. The network is
led by Usman Ghani, a former commander of LJ and Alimullah Umry , a
TTP commander in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa . According to
al-Jazeera , the Pakistanis are in the Katibat Mujahiroon , a
jihadist group of foreign volunteers fighting in Latakia , which is
controlled by a Libyan, Abu Jaafar it Libi . TTP, LJ and another
sectarian group, Hafiz Gul Bahadur , sent fighters. The TTP has also
asked his commanders Mohmand , Bajaur , Khyber , Orakzai and
Waziristan tribal agencies to conduct recruitment.
first video , July 31, 2013 , confirms the presence of TTP fighters
in Syria. It shows a group of 10 to 20 Pakistanis and was posted by
the ISIS . In September , the media announced that the bodies of 30
Pakistanis have been repatriated to the country , most belonging to
LJ or faction Punjab TTP . Participation of TTP to the Syrian
uprising is not surprising : it is part of the internationalization
strategy promoted by Mehsud , who wants to participate in jihad
abroad in connection with al- Qaeda. There were other examples : in
June 2012, the president of Niger said that Afghan and Pakistani men
are training djihadists in northern Mali . In Yemen, Pakistan
conveyed by al- Qaeda militants would train to the us of explosives,
one of them Ragaa Bin Ali, even being killed by a drone in 2013.
Faisal Shahzad , a young Pakistani living in the United States and
who had tried to plant a bomb in Times Square in May 2010, was linked
to the TTP . Sending fighters in Syria has also had the effect of
reviving sectarian tensions in Pakistan between Sunnis and Shiites.
: the radicalization of the Salafi
the beginning of the insurgency, Jordanian activists have won Syria
. Initially, they planned to overthrow Bashar al- assad to install a
Sunni Islamic state in a strictly religious dimension. This approach
has intensified with the character of increasingly sectarian conflict
. Among Jordanians , or Salafi jihadists, who left for Syria, there
are some veterans of Afghanistan or Iraq , and some sources speak of
several thousand men in all. We know that Zarqawi , a Jordanian , had
led al- Qaida in Iraq until his death in June 2006. His spiritual
mentor, Abu Muhammad al- Maqdisi , a Jordanian of Palestinian origin
, is the leader of jihadism in Jordan. Jihadists seem to be gaining
ground around the cities of Maan and Zarqa , the latter being also
the hometown of Zarqawi . In October 2012 , the authorities dismantle
a cell that is about to commit anti-Western attacks in Amman with
explosives and weapons from Syria . It must be said at the outset ,
they have tended to overlook the transit Jordanian fighters towards
this country. Mohammed al- Shalabi , a Jordanian jihadist leaders ,
says 700 to 800 fighters left in Syria, a number that is difficult to
verify . Other reports speak of 500 men.
Abdul Al , the son of Abu Muhammad al- Talawi an influential jihadist
sheikhs Jordan, blew himself up in Deraa in October 2012. Al- Tahawi
itself encourages Jordanians to join the jihad under the banner of
al- Nosra . Other Sunni clerics Jordan did the same since , as the
leader of al Qaeda , Ayman al -Zawahiri . At the beginning of
hostilities , Jordanians cross the border in the provinces of Daraa
and Rif Dishmashq . They are also found in the west and east of Syria
, Aleppo, Homs and Deir Zor . The Jordanian government lets first do
no doubt with the intention of getting rid inexpensively its
jihadists. But when the conflict drags on, the authorities lock the
border and put the hola on arms trafficking returning to Jordan.
Accordingly, the Jordanians are now a detour through Turkey and into
Syria from the north. Most volunteers are integrated into the al-
Nosra front and experienced fighters seem even lead some brigades of
the organization. Two Jordanians of Palestinian descent from Zarqa ,
helped in the establishment of the Shura Council of al- Nosra
alongside Abu Muhammad al- Juhani , the head of the organization.
Both activists Iyad Toubasi and Mustafa Abdul Latif, were part of
al-Qaeda command in Iraq. They are present in Syria since the
conflict began . The first is also married to the sister of Zarqawi .
Abu Gelebeb, his nom de guerre is the emir of al- Nosra for the
provinces of Deraa and Damascus . Wounded in December 2012 , he was
treated in Turkey before joining the fight. Latif is taking the
southern front of al- Nosra . Close to Zarqawi , he organized the
arrival of the Syrians who came to Iraq to fight against the
December 2013 , the Jordanians are the largest contingent of foreign
volunteers who came to fight in Syria alongside the rebels , with
more than 2,000 men
. Abu Sayyaf , leader of the Jordanian jihadists , said 1,200
Jordanians are still in Syria , 200 have been killed since the
beginning of their participation. In addition to historical
militants, a younger generation go now ,originally native towns Zarqa
, Salt , Irbid and Maan . Jordanians are mostly in radical brigades ,
especially al-Nosra . They would be rather opposed to sweeping views
of EIIL regarding the treatment of minorities and practices of war.
: beyond the "Londonistan"
the beginning of the war in Syria , the British authorities have
arrested three men suspected of participating in networks of
recruitment and referral of volunteers for djihadists groups.
The British case recalls unpleasant memories , including that of
Bosnia . Attention is drawn to the British volunteers at the time of
the kidnapping of a British journalist and another Dutch, July 19,
2012 , which are eventually released by a group of rebels who helped
them enter Syria. However, among their captors, is a dozen British ,
including a doctor of the National Health Service, Shajul Islam ,
Bengali origin, intercepted on his return to the country via Egypt on
9 October . Other arrests took place in January 2013 , including that
of Shajul brother , and a man who converted a MAC-10 firing white
into operational weapon. Najul Islam would have provided the
financial support of the journey of his brother and his accomplice ,
who was arrested with him, and had also conveyed in Syria night
vision equipment , telescopic sights and other sensitive materials.
In another case , Nassim Terreri and Walid Blidi , two Londoners of
Algerian origin, are killed in Darkoush , a few kilometers from the
Turkish border, March 26, 2012 . Both belonged to the brigade Hisham
Haboub , the Free Syrian Army : they died by opening fire on a convoy
system that responded to their fire , another British of the same
group being also wounded in the hanging.
British are in fact found on many battlefields of jihad from
Afghanistan . The so-called " Londonistan " community had
also produced radical preachers capable of influencing the British
youth to push elements to join al- Qaeda and to commit the attacks of
7 July 2005 in London. Since the Arab Spring , however , it is the
Arab exile communities , through their links with their countries of
origin, which have become important , as in the case of Libya and
Tunisia , or even Egypt shows . It is estimated that at least 13,000
Syrian exiles are in the UK , part of which provides funds organized
convoys , also feeds the pool of volunteers. But as we have seen ,
the British strictly speaking are also parties in Syria. There are at
least 30 . The Sudanese community of West London talking about 21 men
already trained on site, and there would have been departures from
the Moroccan and Somali communities. Syrians as a preacher of East
London , Abu Basir al- Tartusi , which was not the most radical , are
also left to fight in Syria. There are also among them Mustafa
Setmariam Nassar, a veteran jihadist theologian Afghanistan arrived
in London in the 90's , which had supported radical groups in Algeria
before returning to Afghanistan and being arrested by the Americans
in 2005 in Quetta, then delivered to the Syrian authorities have
released without we understand why, in February 2012. Surur bin
Muhammad Zain al- Abidin Nayif in connection with two Saudi
dissidents, Saad al- Faqih and Muhammad al- Massari , helps finance
insurgents. Salafi theologian , he returned to Qatar in 2004 and then
organizes the financial flows to some rebel groups.
portrait of British volunteer is the following : a native of
Southeast Asian young man between 20 and 30 years , fairly well
educated , and who has links with individuals or groups with
international relations. Motivations are more a solidarity ummah
( defending " Syrian brothers ) and are facilitated by easy
access to Syria via Turkey and the absence of speech that would
prevent young Muslims from targeted fight. However, Syrian fighters
recommend volunteers not to make their own way in Syria but first
contact networks or armed groups to facilitate transit.
: a scaling
Finland, the first rumors about parties in Syria fighters began to
circulate in the media from August 2012
. A year later , the Interior Ministry confirms that more than 20
Finns have already joined the radical Islamist groups on site. This
marks radicalization, filigree, of Finnish Muslims for about two
years . Finnish Muslim population , very small at first, grew in the
90's by the contribution of many refugees . It is estimated to 50-60
000 people in 2011 , which 90 % are Sunni . Some Muslims from the
second generation , poorly integrated , originating in areas of
conflict, became radicalized . However , most radicalized Muslims are
related , in fact, to Islamists and other groups with local issues ,
although several organizations like al- Qaida, the Shabaab ,
Hezbollah are represented in Finland. The Shabaab , in particular,
are more visible because they recruited in the Somali community in
Finland (15 000 persons in 2012). The process seems to be restricted
from 2012 , when the Shabaab associate clearly with al-Qaeda and
begin to use conventional methods of organization like the kamikaze
is believed that there were no Finns engaged in Afghanistan . The
first Finnish foreign fighter known is Abu Ibrahim, who went to fight
in Chechnya and was arrested by the Georgian authorities. His father
was an officer in the Finnish army . The largest contingent remains
this debauched by Shabaab between 2007 and 2009 , before the
radicalization of this movement to al- Qaeda. Some evokes , perhaps ,
the presence of a Finn in the National Front for the Liberation of
Ogaden , Ethiopia. It's with the war in Syria that the quota of
Finnish volunteers is the most important. After rumors unveiled in
August 2012, a Finnish first martyr Kamal Badri , was identified in
January 2013 : he was killed in Aleppo. A few months later , the
authorities start talking about ten , then twenty people parts in
Syria. The overall picture remains unclear, with lack of information
, although it can be inferred that the Muslim community radicalized ,
Finland, is more structured since two years.
: the Lebanese community and jihad
Australia, 6 fighters in Syria have been identified as potentially
Australians, but with doubts about several of them
. Three cases , however, are plausible : Roger Abbas Yusuf Topprakaya
and a suicide bomber known as Abu Asma al- Australi . Roger Abbas ,
who was killed in October 2012, came from Melbourne and was of
Lebanese origin : it was also a kickboxing champion . Came initially
for humanitarian aid , he visibly fought then with al-Nosra .
Topprakaya Yusuf , who was killed in December 2012 , was from the
Turkish community and was monitored by Australian authorities since
2010. Arrived at the Turkish border in mid -2012 , it expects to
enter Syria and joined a local unit of al- Farouq brigade near the
city of al- Numan Maarat . He was noted for his skill in shooting and
bomb making , before being killed by a sniper. In mid- September 2013
, finally, Abu Asma al- Australi throws a truck filled with 12 tons
of explosives against a school that serves as billeting for soldiers
of the Syrian regime in the city of al- Mreiya in the province Deir
Zor . The kamikaze attack would have granted al- Nosra the means to
take the airbase in the city. The martyr , from Brisbane and the
Lebanese community , was also monitored by Australian authorities
cases are less documented. In August 2012, a Sydney sheik, Mustapha
al- Mazjoub, , was killed in Syria. From Saudi descent , it should be
noted that his brother was the only Australian member of the Syrian
National Council . He died in combat. In November 2012 , a man named
Marwan al- Kassab , regarded as an Australian, died in an explosion
in northern Lebanon while manufacturing bombs for Syrian rebels. In
April 2013 , Sammy Salma , from Melbourne , who had traveled with
Abbas, was also killed . In all, an estimated 80 Australians are
parties in Syria and 20 , perhaps , fought with al- Nosra . Most are
from the Lebanese community , 70% of them were previously known to
the authorities and they came to Syria via Turkey , a little less by
Lebanon. Syria is not the first case out of an Australian contingent.
Between 1998 and 2003, 20 people had joined Afghanistan and the LeT
camps in Pakistan. Between 2002 and 2012 , 16 Australians were
arrested in Lebanon, or convicted in absentia for jihadist
activities, mainly related to Ansbat al -Ansar and Fatah al -Islam.
After the invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia in 2006, from 10 to 40
Australians have also joined the Shabaab in Somalia. Australians are
also parties in Yemen in 2010. The conflict in Syria , however, marks
a change of scale. One reason is of course the importance of the
Lebanese community : the conflict in Syria has more to its members
than those in Somalia or Yemen . Then , access to Syria via Turkey is
much easier than in previous conflicts. Finally, the character
increasingly sectarian conflict and the inability of the Western
community to curb clearly have been a breath of fresh air for groups
like al- Nosra or ISIS .
fight is also implemented in Australia. Since early 2012, 17
incidents were identified as being related to the Syrian conflict,
mainly Sunni attacks against persons , property or Shia or Alawite
shops. They occur mostly in Sydney and Melbourne and involve people
from Syrian , Turkish and Lebanese . Australia has experienced
several preparations of terrorist attacks thwarted before execution,
against the Sydney Olympics in 2000, a LeT in 2003 , and two
autonomous cells dismantled in Sydney and Melbourne in 2005, which
included individuals trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan . A planned
attack against the Army Barracks in 2009 Hollsworthy again stopped in
time , involved men who participated in the financing network and
recruitment Shabaab . Note however that sectarian incidents declined
: a profile of highly targeted fighters
April 2013, the Swedish Security Service estimates that 30 people
have already joined the Syrian insurgents.
The author of the article reference on the matter personally
identified 18 Swedes , who have certainly won Syria. Almost all of
these people come from the south - western Sweden , and more than
half of the suburbs of Gothenburg, the second city of the country. 11
are from the suburbs of Angered and Bergjsön . The bonds of
friendship undoubtedly play : three candidates belonged to the same
martial arts circle. Other attending a well-known radical mosque in
Gothenburg, Bellevue Masjid. Only one of these men had a direct link
with Syria, which he joined in June 2013. A third of those born in
Sweden to immigrant parents . The rest comes from different countries
: Iraq, Jordan, Kosovo , Morocco and even Philippines. Yet at least
10 are of Lebanese origin ( 2 of which were perhaps Palestinians ) .
One had Swedish origins . These are all men : the average age is 23.5
years. Most come from families with many children and low-income. 8
were unemployed or have no income of any kind. 8 were also known for
crime, including 4 for drug cases and 3 for violence. One of the
volunteers, Abo Isa, was a hardened criminal : he was jailed three
times and was sentenced 15 times .
the 18 Swedish , 8 were killed in Syria. Abu Kamal suffered a
shrapnel tank shell fatal wound in Aleppo, January 2013. In mid-
March , a video presents him as a member of al- Kataib Muhajirin , a
British has also perished during the same operation. Abu Omar was
killed in April 2013 by a rocket RPG ; again , it would have
served with a radical group. Abu Dharr , who had conducted the first
propaganda video in Swedish , was killed in April 2013. Abu
Abdurahmann was killed in June 2013 in the province of Idlib , he was
also part of al- Kataib Muhajirin . Two brothers, Abu Maaz and Abu
Osman, also died in Syria. They were killed in an attack on a regime
checkpoint near Abu Zeid , close to the Krak des Chevaliers in the
province of Homs. Abu Maaz died driving a kamikaze car and older
brother in the exchange of fire that followed. They served in Jund al
-Sham . Another brother was killed 18 months earlier , in 2012,
during sectarian clashes in Tripoli, Lebanon. Abu Omar Kurdi was
killed in August 2013 during the assault on the airbase of Minnagh .
In addition to the 8 dead identified two others might have been
Swedish : Adam Sully Wali killed by a grenade March 29, 2013 (the
only Swede who had joined the Free Syrian Army and not a radical
group) and Abu Mohammad al -Baghdadi , who was killed in late August
2013. All Swedes joined , except Wali, radical groups : al- Nosra ,
Kataib al- Jund al- Muhajirin and Sham . Some even joined the ISIS .
Many are strongly suspected of war crimes .
out of 18 Swedes were identified previously linked to terrorism or
jihadism. Isa al- Suedi is the younger brother of a man condemned for
the preparation of a Mumbai -type attack against a Danish newspaper ,
with three other men from Sweden. He was arrested at the border with
Somalia in 2007 and in Waziristan in 2009. Abu Omar was the son of an
Albanian jihadist from Kosovo . One of the uncles of the siblings was
imprisoned for participating in the preparation of an attack against
trains in Germany in May 2006 , and another was the fourth supervisor
of the Lebanese Fatah al -Islam movement, and was killed by the
Lebanese army in May 2007. Abu Dharer Filippino announce from Syria
in late October 2012 he was trained in Pakistan in 2001 by the LeT .
He returned to Sweden in spring 2013 and has since intense propaganda
for jihad . The typical profile of Swedish volunteers is quite
targeted a young man , southwestern Sweden, probably from the suburbs
of Gothenburg, a Syrian immigrant family but not without employment,
already convicted of crime. Friends or relatives can connect to
terrorism or jihadism.
and North Caucasians : small but influential
are also among the foreign parties in the Syrian uprising.
The first North -Caucasian fighters are reported in the month of
August 2012. The volunteers for Syria is not without cause discord ,
especially among Chechens and Ingush, because the local fight is
always considered more important , against Russia , that the foreign
wars as the Syrian conflict. Rustam Gelayev was the first Chechen
killed in August 2012. Since then, including Chechens formed the
backbone of the Jaysh al- Muhajireen wal al- Ansar , a ISIS-releted
group rallied in November 2013 (see below) . We found in Syria not
only Chechens and North Caucasians from the region in question, but
also community members in exile or refugees near the borders of
commanders , Emir Muslim , Emir Seifullah and Emir Abu- Musaaba won
Syria October 31, 2013 and formed a new group under the authority of
Muslim, who previously headed Jundu Sham . Muslim probably attracted
to it some fighters serving under the emir Umar Shishani , men who
fought in Chechnya and Dagestan. They are experienced fighters who
also also know that Muslim has important links with donors in the
Middle East since the time of Ibn al- Khattab .
replace fighters leaving Shishani , but it will be difficult to
maintain the cohesion of a group of men he does not necessarily speak
the language . Most volunteers Chechen from Europe , however, seem
join this group. In December 2013 , Muslim claims he have 1,500
fighters while Shishani align 600. Both groups have Chechens , other
nationalities of the Caucasus and Arabs , Syrians or not. There are
also other groups with Chechens. Abu Musa , who arrived in Syria in
2012, lead a group of 300 men. Jamaat group Caliphate of Amir
Abdulkhakim count 100 militants. If Shishani recognizes the authority
of Doku Umarov , the leader of the Chechen insurrection against the
Russians , this is not the case of Muslim . Furthermore , Shishani is
integrated in the structure of the ISIS unlike Muslim . The emir
Salaudin , Umarov 's representative in Syria, became the leader of
the Caucasian volunteers. In Chechnya itself , the influx has
increased since the fall but for now concerns a maximum of 100
people, including perhaps some women. But the Chechens have
incorporated the most powerful groups in the insurgency and their
influence is probably unrelated to their actual number .
, unlike France or the United Kingdom within the EU, opposed sending
military assistance or direct intervention to topple Bashar al
This has not prevented a growing number of Germans to join the jihad
in Syria. German media also talk in recent months of a true German
"boot camp " in Syria to attract volunteers practicing the
language of Goethe . The phenomenon is not new . In 2009, a "German"
camp was thus installed in Pakistan to supply the Islamic Movement of
Uzbekistan related to al- Qaeda. In 2012, the German intelligence
evokes genuine German " Salafist colony " in Egypt ,
including more than 60 fighters , including the famous rapper Denis
Cuspert ("Deso Dogg"),
which had escaped the vigilance of the German security services and
fight now in Syria. In mid- November 2013, the German police also
stated that "Deso Dogg" plans to conduct attacks against Germany, that he immediately
denies in a video. There are rumors of his death in late November
2013, but it seems rather that he is hospitalized in Syria or in
The Germans , from a specialist, are not in the
majority in al- Nosra and ISIS, which are victims of "spy
mania " distrust new converts
as "Deso Dogg". The German security services had already been put on the spot
in 2012 by the New York Times
which stated that a Tunisian who might have served as a bodyguard to
bin Laden a year before the September 11 attacks had lived quietly in
Germany for some time . Sami A. , because of his experience and
training in the camps in Afghanistan, would have been a source of
influx of volunteers for jihad . The latest estimate is that 230
Germans , in the high case , which would have left Syria. In March
2013, the number was only 60 , before moving to 150 in August. The
Land of Hessen
had to install a special monitoring device to curb departures
teenagers to the Syrian jihad. From 23 cases studied, most of the
recruits were under 25 years and 9 are still in school . The Minister
of Interior has created a device to differentiate radical tendencies
among the candidates initially on the model of what has been done to
neo-Nazi and extreme right-wing movements.
fighters had also participated in the massacre of Syrian Christians .
Germany fears that the return of these fighters boost the radical
Salafist fringe and the tension is high with Turkey , accused of
having maintained a porous border with Syria and have favored the
access of European volunteers to the battlefield.
of Central Asia
of Central Asia foreign fighters climbed in 2013 , and those who
return may boost the destabilization of regimes after syrian
Already in March 2013, the Jaysh al- Muhajirin wal- Ansar group ,
dominated by Chechens and North Caucasians, have already announced to
have Central Asian fighters. Two months later , a Tajik newspaper
confirms that the citizens of this country have gone through training
camps in Syria. In June , a site confirms that Uzbek Tajiks gained
Syria and recruiters also would draw on seasonal workers who leave
for Russia. A year earlier , in 2012, a report in the Guardian
mentioned Turkish smuggler working with djhadistes who claimed to see
many Uzbeks cross the northern border of Syria.
same month of June 2013 , Kazakhstan stops 8 of its citizens seeking
to raise funds to finance a trip to Syria . In July, a Kazakh
nicknamed Abu Muadh al- Muhajir calls via video from Damascus his
countrymen to engage in jihad . The Kyrgyzstan for its part
recognizes that twenty national parties are likely to fight in Syria,
and also mentions hold others arrested at airports. There are also
Chinese citizens. In March 2013, a Han converted to Islam , Yusuf al-
Sini (Bo Wang) , appears in a video Jaysh al- Muhajirin wal -Ansar .
Another video from al- Nosra seems to stage a Uighur , called the
. Islamic Party of Turkistan , based in Pakistan and run by Uighurs
have sent fighters to Syria.
seems that the volunteers of Central Asia , due to difficulties in
adapting to the Syrian context, have aroused deep resentment among
the people of the north , where they are involved in majority. That
is why the Syrian fighters have sometimes encouraged them to return
home to pursue jihad . China in July 2013 reported the arrest of a
Uighur student who studied in Istanbul and then fought in Aleppo and
have prepared attacks in Xinjiang. 15 people behind an attack against
a police station and its surroundings Turpang in June were denied
departure for Syria and would have led a local operation . On 12
September, at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan announced that he dismantled a cell of the
Islamic Jihad Union , which would target the summit. Moreover, it has
long been known that many thousands of Central Asian fighters were
involved in Afghanistan, including members of the Islamic Movement of
Uzbekistan , on the northern borders of the country , in the
provinces of Kunduz and Takhar.
Turks : organized networks ?
three decades , Turks involved in external conflicts with foreign
. They fought in Afghanistan ( against the Soviets and the West ) ,
Iraq , Bosnia, and the North Caucasus, some even held senior
positions in the armed groups. Cevdet Doger , alias Emir Abdullah
Kurd , was the second in command of the North Caucasus fighters
before his death in May 2011. In August 2012, a Turkish journalist
reported the death of four Turkish soldiers near Aleppo , which then
operated at least 50 men of the same nationality.
offer a wide range of data online in Turkish , as do the Facebook
pages of al- Nosra or ISIS . Videos of Turkish fighters , justifying
their action and calling for jihad volunteers are posted regularly.
The Emir Seyfullah , a Chechen who lived in Turkey and who leads a
breakaway faction of the group Jaysh Ansar al- wa Muhajirin, now
rallied to EIIL group, is directly addressed to the Turks in a video
dated July 2013. Many fighters from the North Caucasus were still
living in Turkey in recent years. A video posted in July 2013 also
lists 27 Turkish "martyrs"
fallen in Syria, most of them from the east : Gazianatep , Diyarbakir
, Adana . The age of martyrs is 17 to much older people.
Zorlu , 30, alias Emir Ahmed Seyyaf , was killed with four other
Turks during an operation to Han el Asel near Aleppo . Arrived in
Syria a few months earlier , Zorlu likely led a group of Turkish
soldiers. Abdurrahman Koc , from the province of Adiyaman, was an old
man, head of a religious association. He arrived in Syria in January
2013 and was killed by a sniper during the siege of the airbase of
Minagh in July . One of his associates, Yakup Senatas of Kurdish
origin, was also killed on July 25 at the same location . Metin
Ekinci was killed a year earlier , in July 2012, Aleppo. Member of a
religious organization rather moderate , it is the brother of Azaz
Ekinci , involved in the attack against the HSBC building in Istanbul
November 20, 2003, an organized attacks by al- Qaeda in the city who
have claimed the lives of 57 people.
: the weight of Sharia4Belgium
has a long-standing relationship with its dual Maghreb or Turkish
immigrants . In the 1960's , the Moroccan and Turkish immigration was
encouraged in order to provide cheap labor for the coal and steel
industry , which allowed Belgium to take its place in European
construction. The decline of heavy industry has not led to the
departure of these immigrants . Today , some people of the third and
fourth generations are on the margins of Belgian society. Part of the
immigrant youth of Moroccan origin rocker in crime from 1980-1990 .
on these integration difficulties, the party Sharia4Belgium
was born March 3, 2010 . Salafi spokesman Fouad Belkacem , is persona
non grata in the public square . After several lawsuits and
public pressure , the party is finally dissolved Oct. 7, 2012 . The
war then raging in Syria for a year and a half. It takes a few months
to get the first information about the Belgian and Dutch volunteers
left to join the jihad in Syria. As regards Belgium, the first people
is identified in March 2013 , with the Flemish language on videos
posted from Syria . Parents Brian De Mulder and Jejoen Bontinck
recognize their sons on videos. The far-right Vlaams Belang managed
to indoctrinate a family for propaganda while the father of Bontinck
went to Syria to look for his son . All blame Sharia4Belgium.
10 April 2013 a Belgian weekly published an article on national
jihadists , saying that 12 of them have already been killed (figure
still unconfirmed) . In June, two newspapers provide information on
the quota after the death of Abd ar -Rahman Ayashi , a Franco -
Syrian who had left Belgium in 2012 after 8 years of jailing. He
became battalion commander in the group Suqour as -Sham , leading no
less than 600 men in combat. He was the son of Sheikh Bassam Ayashi ,
a Syrian from Molenbeek , Brussels. The family is monitored by the
Belgian authorities since at least September 2009. A few months
earlier , a friend of Ayashi , the French Raphael Gendron, was also
killed in Syria. Other Belgians died in combat, there are also
Abouallal Nur ad Din , member Sharia4Belgium , killed July 25,
2013 . 33 other members of the group are still fighting in Syria in
September, which Hussyan Elouassaki , alias Abu Fallujah , which lead
the brigade Ansar Majlis Shura al- Mujahideen , near Aleppo , who
committed beheadings . The number of Belgians already left to Syria
is then evaluated to 150-200 .
December 2013, Spanish experts believed that 17 people had traveled
to fight in Syria within djihadists groups.
11 are Spanish citizens and 6 other Moroccan immigrants living in
Spain. Most come from Ceuta, the Spanish enclave in Moroccan
territory , which has 85,000 inhabitants , of which 37 % are Muslim .
Ceuta Spaniards which start for Syria from the month of April 2012
belong to the poorest social classes. Moroccans are also parties
mainland cities such as Girona and Malaga. They are all men, aged 16
to 49, most are between 25 and 30 years old and married. Except maybe
3 or 4 of them , none had special bond with jihadist networks . At
least two , however, had participated in jihadist events held since
2008 in Ceuta and a municipality in the province of Cadiz. The
exception is Muhannad Almallah Dabas , a naturalized Spanish Syrian
who was part of the Spanish cell implanted by al- Qaeda since the
mid-1990's before being disbanded in November 2001. Dabas was
arrested and tried for the attacks in Madrid in 2004, before being
released. He then moved to Syria where he is in charge of logistics
for al- Nosra , with his young son .
join especially al-Nosra or ISIS, or Harakat al -Sham group of
Moroccans. Those who lack djihadist experience undergo a process of
radicalization in Ceuta or in neighboring towns as Moroccan
Castillejos . Two or three recruiters operating across the border in
a hierarchical network : it promotes volunteerism by providing money
to families. Volunteers earn Algeciras ferry, then join Malaga or
Madrid where they are flying to Istanbul. Once in Turkey, they are
routed in the border province of Hatay , where group members
responsible for collection make them cross the border. Sometimes
flights depart from Istanbul to Casablanca. In Syria , the volunteers
go through training camps. Some are assigned to kamikaz bombers cells
-three cases were identified . In addition to the Spaniards having
joined jihadist groups , at least 25 others have also previously
joined the Free Syrian Army and may have changed since allegiance .
the battlefield , what can we say about the intervention of foreign
is common to read, when we talk about war in Syria, the al-Nosra
gathers mainly Syrian fighters while ISIS especially includes foreign
volunteers . It is true that most Sunni foreign fighters joining the
ISIS , but they also contribute to other formations.
al- Muhajireen wa al -Ansar is controlled by Omar ash-Shishani, a
veteran of the Georgian army . In May 2013, it was named emir of
northern Syria by the Head of ISIS, a sector which includes the
provinces of Aleppo, Raqqa , northern Idlib and Latakia . Following
this designation, the Shishani's Omar becomes a screen of ISIS. If
the designation of origin is preserved, it is to show a wider
ideological front there , when in reality , the group is only a
reflection of the ISIS . The same phenomenon is observed with many
Iranian militias fighting for regime. In August 2013, the group plays
a crucial role in breaking the airbase of Minnagh , under the command
of an Egyptian, Abu Jandal al- Masri . Late November 2013 , a new
division is born between those who remain faithful to the ISIS
Shishani and those who retain the "label" of origin
and have a new commander , Salah ad -Din ash- Shishani . It now leads
the group which includes the Chechens and Caucasians who refused to
swear allegiance to the ISIS partly because they had already done to
the Emir of the Caucasus, Umarov . Part of fighters , led by al-
Seyfullak Shishani , the second of Omar that he had expelled this
summer, apparently fought with al-Nosra front during the recent
capture of al -Kindi hospital in Aleppo.
This fraction , called the Mujahideen of the Caucasus and the Levant
, is separated from the Omar Shishani group since August 2013. Its
leader, Emir Seyfullak, is regularly intervened before the split in
the band's videos in Russian. It is a native of the Chechen Pankisi
Gorge , Georgia , who has long lived in Turkey, which houses a
Chechen exile community (1500 people)
. In December 30, 2013, al- Shishani Seyfullak solemnly swear
allegiance to Abu Mohammad al- Joulani , the leader of al- Nosra.
Jund ash-Sham is a battalion based in the rural western province of
Homs. Founded by Lebanese fighters , it also includes Syrians. The
group approaches the ISIS but it not hostile to al- Nosra . Sunni
Lebanese activists pro- EIIL Tripoli relay informations from the
group, suggesting links with this community.
Battalion emerged in August 2013. It is close to ISIS and al-Nosra
but is distinguished by its independence, and to do this, this emblem
changed , for example, in September. The group is led by the Saudis
but also includes Syrians. He has conducted joint operations with the
ISIS and al- Nosra in the mountains of Qalamoun , as well as other
important groups as Jaysh al -Islam, in the desert areas of the
province of Homs held by the regime - where he also claimed to have
seized numerous weapons . This is the Green Battalion , in connection
with the ISIS , who took over the city of Deir Atiyeh during the
"battle" of Qalamoun before the city was conquered
by the regime and its Shiite militiamen .
Harakat al -Islam was founded in mid- August 2013 by Moroccan
fighters. He participated in the offensive in the province of Latakia
in summer 2013 and has also collaborated with al- Nosra in Aleppo
province , including an attack on the central prison of the city,
which has not attended the ISIS. During the offensive of Latakia ,
the group lost a Moroccan former detainee at Guantanamo , Mohammed
al- Alami, who came from Ahrar al -Sham group . We also know that 11
other Moroccans were killed in early August 2013 during fighting
against the regime : they joined the Free Syrian Army in May and came
from the province of Al -Haouz . Another veteran al- Qaeda of
Moroccan origin, Ibrahim bin Shakaran directs the group. In September
2013 , an estimated 50 to 100 Moroccans had left to fight in Syrie.
The group is virtually linked , in fact, to al- Nosra , "official"
branch of al- Qaeda in Syria. It also boasts a commitment that serves
as a kind of workout bench so that the fighters then return to
Morocco and the Maghreb to fight against the regimes. Recently,
Aymenn Jawad al- Tamimi identified Mizouz Mohammed , alias Abu al-
Izz al- Muhajir , a third Moroccan former detainee at Guantanamo now
part of Harakat al- Sham Islam.
The group recently participated in the capture of al -Kindi hospital
in Aleppo , alongside al- Nosra and Islamic Front.
al- Izz , as Green Battalion, was created and is run by Saudis, at
odds with al- Nosra and ISIS , even if the logo and certain
statements seem to bring this independent battalion to ISIS . Born in
February 2013, the group operates in the province of Latakia , and
participated in the coordinated offensive with al- Nosra and ISIS .
Among his martyrs , there are an Indonesian and Syrians killed mainly
Aleppo in late November 2013.
Lions of Caliphate battalion is also based in Latakia and was founded
by an Egyptian, Abu Muadh al- Masri . In mid- November 2013 , it
announced his support for the ISIS . The Jund Allah brigade in Bilad
ash- Sham is a group that operates in the provinces of Idlib and Hama
and has its own battalion of foreign volunteers .
remains difficult to accurately assess the number of foreign fighters
in Syria, but lists of martyrs (killed in action) , however, permit
fine enough to assess losses and see the country of origin of
volonteers. In December 2013, with a total of over 1,100 jihadists
killed in Syria , which represents a very significant increase for
the year, there were only 85 in February and 280 in June. The 9 most
represented countries confirm a domination of Arab recruitment.
One of the most interesting lessons of
recent statistics is the growing importance of the number of Saudi
volunteers and losses accordingly. Just 20% of 11 00 records provide
affiliate group of martyr , but in those which are known , al- Nosra
and ISIS dominate . We also know that 15 Saudis come from the
province of al- Qassim , and perhaps another 22 from the provincial
capital , Buraydah . The most surprising is that the largest
contingent seems to come from Riyadh , the capital. Libya is also a
flagship location, a real hub for Syrian jihadists. Groups like Ansar
al -Sharia have provided training Libyans, Tunisians and other North
Africans. Syrians even came acquire training on site before returning
to their country. In Tunisia , recruitment seems more widespread
across the country , which seems to attest to the importance of
networks in place to supply the Syrian jihad , including groups like
Ansar al -Sharia.
know the place of death of 760 martyrs of 1 100 . They died in 12 of
14 provinces Syrian , with the exception of Tartous , bastion of the
regime, and Quneitra . The heaviest losses occurred during the
offensive in the summer of 2013 called "Cleaning
the coast" , near Latakia , another stronghold of the
Syrian regime . Of the 88 jihadists who were killed here , 50 were in
August , during that offensive. The largest losses are still
concentrated in Aleppo, a rebel stronghold where the fightings were
among the heaviest.
influx of foreign volunteers resulted in important consequences.
He contributed not only to strengthen the most radical factions of
the Syrian uprising , but he also revitalized radical communities in
the countries where these parties are voluntary . This influx , which
probably mark an entire generation of jihadists fighters , is
facilitated by the relatively simple conditions of access to Syria ,
particularly because many states support the same camp as these
fighters , which inhibits the suppression of such transit . In
addition, the northern border of Syria is controlled by the rebels ,
leaving Turkey, one of the mainstays of the insurgency as the only "border guard " and unwilling to stop the flow .
Volunteers can go well in Syria, return to their country of origin
for recruitment and propaganda , or leave. The large number of women
from Europe also shows a change in attitude on the part of radicals.
In addition, the very localized nature war in Syria make that the
fighters can not necessarily be exposed to fire immediately , or even
at all, which approximates Syria from Afghanistan under the Soviets.
The Syrian conflict also reflects sectarian fracture lines that had
been seen in Iraq , which traditionally do not attract foreign
volunteers : but the important thing here is perhaps more who to help
, rather than those to fight. The scale and speed of mobilization of
foreign fighters have been greatly accelerated by the Internet and
social networks , but also because the authorities of the country of
origin does not have a systematic repression , as has been said. This
explains , for example, the number of European volunteers has tripled
in 6 months.
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