Despite Clampdown on Foreign Fighters, Extremists Ranks Swelling, Study Finds
Wall Street Journal
By: Felicia Schwartz
More than a year of international efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters into Syria and Iraq have fallen short, with the number of militants taking up arms for Islamic State and other extremist groups more than doubling in that time frame, a report released Monday found.
Between 27,000 and 31,000 people from at least 86 countries have traveled to the Middle East to join the extremist movement, according to the report, by the security consulting firm The Soufan Group, founded by a former federal official who investigated the 2001 terrorist attacks. By comparison, a June 2014 by the firm issued identified approximately 12,000 foreign fighters from 81 countries who had traveled to Iraq and Syria.
The report represents new evidence that backs a trend noted by lawmakers, intelligence officials and analysts as the U.S. and its allies grasp for ways short of major military deployments to counter the expansion of the Islamic State group. In September, a report by the House Homeland Security Committee said that nearly 30,000 foreigners, including more than 250 Americans, had traveled to Syria and Iraq to join Islamic State and other violent extremist groups since 2011, double the number from a year before…
Download The Soufan Group’s updated report on Foreign Fighters here.
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