21-09-2019 06:56 PM Jerusalem Timing

Hundreds of Europeans Fighting in Syria: EU Expert

Hundreds of Europeans Fighting in Syria: EU Expert

The European Union’s anti terror chief said that hundreds of Europeans are now fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The European Union’s anti terror chief said that hundreds of Europeans are now fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Gilles de Kerchove estimated the number in Syria at about 500, BBC reported. Europeans fighting in Syria
"Not all of them are radical when they leave, but most likely many of them will be radicalized there, will be trained," de Kerchove said.

Intelligence agencies are concerned some could join groups linked to al-Qaeda and later return to Europe to launch terrorist attacks.

"And as we've seen this might lead to a serious threat when they get back,” de Kerchove added.

The UK, Ireland and France are among the EU countries estimated to have the highest numbers of fighters in Syria.
Across Europe, intelligence agencies have stepped up investigations, says the BBC's Europe correspondent Duncan Crawford.

In Britain and Belgium they have increased efforts to track how people are recruited.

In the Netherlands, officials have raised the terror threat level there to "substantial" - partly over concerns about radicalized citizens returning from Syria.