Il Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center ha pubblicato uno studio sulla composizione dei gruppi stranieri che combattono in Siria (qui sintetizzato dal Washington Post).
L’analisi è molto dettagliata, sia riguardo ai numeri che riguardo ai Paesi di provenienza dei combattenti. In particolare, secondo le stime degli analisti, un migliaio dei 6/7.000 combattenti stranieri dovrebbero da Paesi europei:
Our overall estimate of the number of foreign fighters in Syria is between 6,000 and 7,000, from dozens of countries, and the number continually rises. Most of them (an estimated 6,000) have remained in Syria and participate in the fighting, primarily in the ranks of the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State. Some of them (an estimated 1,000) either returned to their countries of origin or were killed or wounded in the fighting, or captured by the Syrian army. We estimate the number of foreign fighters killed at about 500-700, that is, between 8% and 10% of the total number.
Most of the foreign fighters come from the Arab world. We estimate their number at about 4,500, from Libya, Tunisia, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Others come from Western Europe and other Western countries, especially young men who are second and sometimes third generation Muslim immigrants (especially Europeans of Moroccan extraction). We estimate their number at more than 1,000. Most of them come from Belgium, Britain, France, Holland and Germany. A third group is represented by fighters who come from Muslim countries and Muslim regions in Asia, and they number an estimated 500. Among them are skilled operatives, some with previous military-terrorist experience gained in Chechnya and Pakistan.
There are still relatively few Israeli Arabs and Palestinians fighting in Syria. An estimated 15-20 are Israeli Arabs, there are dozens of Gazans whose number has risen sharply, and several score from Lebanon and Syria (especially from the Eyn al-Hilweh refugee camp in south Lebanon), and a few individual fighters from Judea and Samaria. Among the fighters from Jordan, those of Palestinian extraction are prominent. Most of the Palestinian fighters join the Al-Nusra Front and other jihadist organizations.
Nell’intervista al Washington Post, Reuven Erlich, direttore del centro, sottolinea che nel 2013 l’afflusso di combattenti stranieri si è notevolmente incrementato rispetto all’anno precedente, in ciò favoriti anche dalla facilità con la quale risulta possibile raggiungere la Siria a differenza di quanto avveniva per l’Iraq e l’Afghanistan.
“Because it is cheap, and it is easy,” said Reuven Erlich, a retired colonel in Israel’s military intelligence directorate and now director of the center that produced the report. “You can make jihad for the price of plane ticket to Istanbul.”
From there it’s an overnight bus ride to the Syrian border, where recruiters are easily reached by calling cellphone numbers widely in circulation.
Erlich said he was surprised how rapidly the numbers of foreign fighters rose in the later half of 2013.
This phenomenon is worrying, he said, because the young Sunni fighters are typically not joining the more secular, more pro-West Free Syrian Army, which the Obama administration supports, sort of. Instead, they often seek out al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations, mostly Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — “which offer better food, better weapons and jihad ideology.”
“They learn to fight, they become radical, more committed to jihad, and then they return home,” Erlich said.
Ovviamente sono evidenti i possibili rischi per la sicurezza nazionale dei Paesi da cui provengono tali volontari ed ai quali ritornano dopo aver imparato a combattere e dopo essersi “radicalizzati”.