Foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq – an updated per capita count

Based on recently updated figures of foreign fighters in the current Syrian-Iraqi conflict, this is the per capita ranking for 84 countries of origin. Given is the number of fighters per one million inhabitants, calculated at the high end estimates of people who at least have tried to reach the battle zone. For the complete set of figures and some important notes, please visit thecountofemmejihad.wordpress.com.

1. Tunisia 543.61

2. Maldives 508.58

3. Jordan 257.34

4. Kosovo 160.34

5. Lebanon 145.52

6. Saudi Arabia 108.10

7. Libya 93.58

8. Bosnia and Herzegovina 87.92

9. Turkmenistan 68.81

10. Belgium 52.01

11. Albania 48.86

12. Montenegro 46.36

13. Morocco 45.01

14. Trinidad and Tobago 40.90

15. Georgia 40.56

16. Macedonia 33.40

17. United Kingdom 31.21

18. Azerbaijan 30.67

19. Sweden 30.61

20. Austria 30.00

21. Turkey 29.05

22. France 28.20

23. Denmark 26.87

24. Kuwait 25.46

25. Palestine 24.49

26. Tajikistan 24.41

27. Germany 22.26

28. Netherlands 20.65

29. Kazakhstan 19.28

30. Finland 18.26

31. Kyrgyzstan 17.65

32. Uzbekistan 17.12

33. Norway 13.44

34. Russia 11.94

35. Australia 10.99

36. Luxembourg 10.52

37. Serbia 9.75

38. Bahrain 8.91

39. Switzerland 7.26

40. Qatar 6.83

41. Somalia 6.59

42. Algeria 6.32

43. Ireland 6.13

44. Yemen 4.11

45. Egypt 4.07

46. Malaysia 3.28

47. Indonesia 3.13

48. Spain 2.89

49. Canada 2.85

50. Sudan 2.77

51. United Arab Emirates 2.60

52. Pakistan 2.51

53. Israel 2.48

54. China 2.19

55. Philippines 1.98

56. Estonia 1.58

57. Afghanistan 1.54

58. Italy 1.41

59. Bulgaria 1.39

60. New Zealand 1.35

61. Mexico 1.23

62. Ukraine 1.13

63. Portugal 1.11

64. Slovakia 1.10

65. Poland 1.04

66. Latvia 1.01

67. United States 0.93

68. Mauritania 0.56

69. Argentina 0.53

70. Jamaica 0.34

71. Oman 0.30

72. Moldova 0.28

73. Croatia 0.22

74. Brazil 0.18

Singapore 0.18

76. South Korea 0.14

77. Romania 0.09

78. Iran 0.06

Japan 0.06

South Africa 0.06

81. Madagascar 0.04

82. Bangladesh 0.01

India 0.01

Nigeria 0.01


French police report details travels to UK and Turkey of Salah Abdeslam’s accomplices

The two men who are in a Belgian jail because they brought Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam back to Brussels, made suspicious journeys before. Hamza Attou went to the UK with a man of Iraqi descent only three days before the attacks, while Mohamed Amri visited Turkey at least seven times during the past two years.

Paris suspects Hamza Attou (left) and Mohamed Amri

Paris suspects Hamza Attou (left) and Mohamed Amri

Mohamed Amri (26) and Hamza Attou (21) belonged to the very first suspects who were caught after the Paris attacks. They quickly confessed that they had brought the only surviving perpetrator back to Brussels that night. On the phone, Salah Abdeslam reportedly said that he had suffered a car accident. It was only when they met him in Paris, that he told them about his role in the bloodbath. According to their declarations, he threatened to blow up Amri’s Volkswagen Golf if they refused to give him a lift.

Amri and Attou are still behind bars, but no details have surfaced yet about a further implication in the terrorist plot. When Molenbeek mayor Françoise Schepmans named the Paris suspects who were on a list of radicalized inhabitants prior to the attacks, she did not mention these two. In the 55 pages long report that the Paris police has written about the attacks for the French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve however, it is stated that the Belgian authorities knew Amri already as “being close to the movement of the extremist Islam”.

That same report also reveals how both Amri and Attou undertook suspicious journeys in the days and years before the Paris attacks. Airline registers learned that Amri went to Istanbul at least seven times between May 2013 and May 2014. When returning, he often flew to other destinations than his home town Brussels — such as Paris, Marseille, and Copenhagen. The report contains no proof that his travel was related to terrorist activities, but they happened at a time when Turkey served as the main gate to Syria for tens of members of the network behind the Paris and Brussels attacks.

Hamza Attou left Belgium on the 10th of November 2015 for a journey to the UK. He did so in the company of a man from Brussels with roots in Iraq, and a Dutchman of Somali descent. It was the latter who drove the Ford Focus with Dutch license plate when they boarded the ferry from Dunkerque to Dover. Their tickets were booked by an autochtonous Dutchman we could reach and who provided some background about the trip.

He told us that the Dutchman of Somali descent is a youth friend who wanted to visit relatives in the UK. “On the internet, he searched for people who would join him in order to share some of the costs. That’s how he came into contact with the men from Brussels. He did not know them at all prior to that England trip.” Reportedly, the trio was stopped in the UK because something was wrong with the identity papers of one of the Brussels men. But what exactly was the problem, is not known — and neither is how long they were held.

The men from Brussels did not travel back together with the Dutchman, but if they did so with their initial reservation, they came back the very same day as the Paris attacks. Again, the French police report does not allege that their stay in the UK was somehow linked to terrorism. The Brussels man of Iraqi descent, 43 year old A.J.I.H. seems to have relatives living in London, which can mean there is a completely innocent reason for visiting the UK. We do not know whether he was interrogated about the trip, but the Dutchman of Somali descent certainly was.