German jihadists joining the fight in Syria: report


Rebel fighters from the Al-Ezz bin Abdul Salam Brigade attend a training session at an undisclosed location near the al-Turkman mountains, in Syria's northern Latakia province in April.



An increasing number of German Islamists are traveling to Syria to fight with the rebels in the conflict there, German intelligence says in a classified report seen by Der Spiegel.

Syria currently is "by far the most attractive location for jihadists," the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) says in the report, according to the German magazine.

The report estimates that about 200 Islamic fundamentalists from Germany are either in Syria or en route to the Middle Eastern country. It’s believed that eight Germans have died in the conflict so far.

In late 2012, according to German security officials, only 250 jihadists from all of Europe were in Syria. That number is now around 1,000, German intelligence agencies believe – approximately 90 from Britain, 120 from Belgium, 50 from Denmark and 150 from Kosovo.

This is a concern for European anti-terrorism agencies.

“Not all of them are radical when they leave, but most likely many of them will be radicalized there, will be trained," Gilles de Kerchov, the European Union’s anti-terror chief, told the BBC. "And as we've seen, this might lead to a serious threat when they get back."

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