BERLIN – France’s intelligence service reported a significant spike in the
number of jihadists who travelled to Syria to fight against President Bashar
Assad’s regime, according to a report in the daily Le Monde.
Schindler, a professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College,
analyzed the report on his blog The XX Committee, saying “A detailed new report
in the Parisian daily Le Monde, based on sources inside France’s foreign
intelligence service, paints a dire portrait of the rising number of Westerners
going to wage jihad in Syria.”
The report on Wednesday stated that
jihadists from Western and Caucasus countries vastly increased the number of
entry points into to Syria since the summer. It said that the civil war
represents a “power of attraction” for radical Islamists.
it has ever been seen before, even for Afghanistan,” said a senior French
Schindler, a leading US expert on
counterterrorism, wrote based on Le Monde’s report, “France is a major source,
with the number of French nationals in Syria having doubled just since May, with
some 400 in various forms of transit and over 200 actually in Syria as of the
beginning of October.”
Fresh groups of jihadists are travelling from
Chechnya to Syria. Two transit points have been identified in
Austria’s capital, Vienna, has served as a major transit hub for
Caucasus jihadists who work their way from the central European country to
Turkey and into Syria. According to French intelligence, Chechen Islamists are
using Nice, where there is a Chechen community of more than 10,000 in southern
France to travel to Turkey and into Syria.
The Jerusalem Post learned of
an al-Qaida member affiliated with the ISIS group from Iraq who used the Turkish
city of Gaziantep in late September as an entry point into Syria.
Monde reported that radical Islamists from Australia and Canada have left for
Smaller numbers of jihadists have departed from Italy and
Crisis in Syria - full JPost.com coverage
French intelligence said there is a demographic change in the
age brackets of the fighters. Lately, fighters between 20 and 35 are streaming
into Syria in contrast to the spring when there were large numbers of teenagers
and middle aged men in their fifties.