The International Center for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), reported today that “Between 3,300 and 11,000 fighters from more than 70 nations, including a rising number from Western Europe, have joined the struggle in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad. Most of them had fought for al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, two groups linked to al Qaeda.
The Centre said “we estimate that - from late 2011 to 10 December 2013 - between 3,300 and 11,000 individuals have gone to Syria to fight .These figures include those who are currently present (in Syria) as well as those who have since returned home, been arrested or killed”.
The report showed that Arabs and Europeans made up the bulk of foreign fighters, with up to 80 per cent, but militants from southeast Asia, North America, Africa, the Balkans and countries of the former Soviet Union were also represented.
Western Europeans, with the largest contingents from France and Britain, represent up to 18 per cent of the foreign fighters in Syria. Up to 70 percent were from the Middle East.