dimanche 5 janvier 2014

" And fight them until there is no more remains of association, and religion is for Allah. ". A portrait of the foreign fighters of the uprising in Syria

This is the english text of my french article about Syria's foreign fighters. Enjoy it !

" And fight them until there is no more remains of association, and religion is for Allah.1 ". A portrait of the foreign fighters of the uprising in Syria.

Update n°3, Januar 14th, 2014 : Dutchs + Tunisians + some details about others parties (Australians, foreign fighters groups).

Update N°2, Januar 10th, 2014 : Egyptians.

Update N°1, Januar 7th, 2014 : Spaniards + Harakat al-Sham Moroccans.

The war in Syria prompted the intervention of thousands of foreign fighters who came to support the rebels fighting against Bashar al -Assad. The attention of the West focuses , of course, those who are fighting to groups linked to al- Qaeda , and that could potentially pose a threat in these countries, but also remember that foreign intervention is probably much greater in favor of Bashar al- Assad2. This article aims to outline an overall picture of the phenomenon of foreign fighters who came to fight in Syria alongside the insurgency in order to disassemble some received ideas and provide detailed examples that help to better understand the reality of the phenomenon , from reliable sources.

" Foreign volunteers in Syria, how many divisions ? "

In Europe , the influx of foreign volunteers alongside the rebels began to worry from spring 2013. The Independent estimated 100 Britons are already parties; Figaro talking about 50-80 French ; Der Spiegel evokes dozens of Germans and Jyllands -Poste speaks 45 Danes. The Netherlands raise their alert due to the return of some at country, among the hundred or more Muslims who went to fight in Syria. At this time, it is between 140 and 600 Europeans who have gone to fight the insurgents , or 7-11 % of total foreigners volunteers3.

In April 2013 , Aaron Zelin estimated the total number of foreign volunteers parties in Syria since 2011 2 000-2 500 , of which 135 to 590 Europeans. There were between 70-441 even on site, of those, at that time . On 249 records of martyrs from Syrian jihadist groups , only 8 (3 %) concerned Europeans. In fact, foreign fighters represent no more than 10% of the insurrection, and probably less . In November 2013 , Thomas Hegghamer spoke of 1 100 -1 700 West Europeans parties in Syria , which according to him is already more than all the other contingents conflicts between 1990 and 2010. The phenomenon , overall, seems to accelerate throughout 2013.

Recently, the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung4, citing a study published by The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation , refers to total 11,000 foreign fighters in Syria, whose 1800 Western Europeans (240 Germans) . The study, published on December 17 finally5, actually confirms these figures : 11 000 foreign volunteers from 74 different nations since 2011 , the number of Western Europeans has tripled since April 2013 , from 600 to over 1900 . The range will be between 3,300 and 11,000 fighters , and the total is probably over 8500 . The West Europeans now constitute 18% of the contingent , led by France, the United Kingdom , Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Based on the total population , the figures are the highest for Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands. The Middle East continue to provide almost 70 % of foreign volunteers , the largest contingent from Jordan , Saudi Arabia , Tunisia, Lebanon and Libya , but the numbers here are probably less reliable. The Balkans and the former Soviet republics provide the last big contingent. In any case, despite this increase , the number of foreign fighters is not more than 10% of the insurgency, which amounts to at least 100,000 men.

For the sunni rebels, there has probably been in at least 5,000 foreign fighters , a wide range leading to 10,000 or a little more, this figure covers all those who have arrived since 2011, many have been already killed, arrested or departed6. The mobilization of this pool still remains unprecedented , even compared to that in Iraq against Americans or against the Soviets in Afghanistan. The majority of volunteers come from Arab countries - Saudi Arabia , Tunisia and Libya , mainly , with perhaps more Iraqis than what we can know. Western Europe provides the second largest contingent led by Britain, France , Belgium and the Netherlands , according to Zelin , in early 2013. There are also fewer volunteers in the Balkans , the Caucasus and other regions of the world , totaling over 60 countries from which come these Sunni fighters. Most of these fighters come to the most radical Islamist factions, in the first place ISIS and forehead al- Nosra but also Salafi groups like Ahrar al -Sham . They are also a good part of armed groups linked directly or indirectly to ISIS or al- Nosra as Army Muhajirin wa -Ansar Battalions Suqqour al- Ezz , Sham al -Islam movement, the battalion Green the brigade Umma and Jund al -Sham .

Most foreign volunteers have little experience and first go through training camps . Some have already been trained in camps in North Africa , such as those established by Ansar al -Sharia in Libya or other Islamist militias. There is also , however , veterans of Afghanistan , Bosnia , Chechnya , Yemen and Libya . The majority of Syrian or foreign jihadists consider the Chechens as the most experienced , after twenty years of war against Russia. But Caucasian volunteers come mostly from Europe and also have little experience than others, generally . Those who spoke first on the battlefield often had the most impact . The army Muhajrin wa -Ansar , related ISIS , has played a key role in taking the airbase Minnagh in August 2013. Other formations of foreign volunteers attacked furiously in the region of Latakia , in the heart of Alawite countries , proceeding killings of Alawites in gained areas. The brutality of the regime of Bashar al -Assad has probably led to a radicalization of those who came to fight in Syria. In addition, the jihadists are better funded than the other actors of the insurgency, they have much more attracted . It seems that the Tunisian fighters , taking advantage of the experience of Ansar al -Sharia , have help prepare a program of proselytizing ( da'wa ) to ISIS . This program aims to break the negative image that the organization had since the war in Iraq and to attract the benevolence of the inhabitants . This is also why this program is for children and adolescents 8-16 years.

Pakistani volunteers : a contribution to TTP's global jihad ?

Many commanders of Tehrik -i- Taliban Pakistan ( TTP) indicated having sent militants to Syria to fight the regime of Bashar al - Assad7 . Mohammed Amin, the coordinator of the TTP for Syria, has said that his organization had established a base in Syria with the help of veterans of Afghanistan. A middle-ranking commander of the TTP justify sending militants by the fact that Shiites would also recruited by Iran to Pakistan to fight alongside the regime of Bashar al -Assad. The network responsible for delivering the volunteers in Syria is held jointly by the TTP and the Laschkar -i- Jangvi (LJ) , both affiliated to al- Qaeda groups. It would have sent 100 to 150 men. Abdul Rashid Abbasi, near the head of the TTP , Hakimullah Mehsud , said that 120 Pakistani soldiers were in Syria and that they were under orders from the local command of al- Qaeda. The network is led by Usman Ghani, a former commander of LJ and Alimullah Umry , a TTP commander in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa . According to al-Jazeera , the Pakistanis are in the Katibat Mujahiroon , a jihadist group of foreign volunteers fighting in Latakia , which is controlled by a Libyan, Abu Jaafar it Libi . TTP, LJ and another sectarian group, Hafiz Gul Bahadur , sent fighters. The TTP has also asked his commanders Mohmand , Bajaur , Khyber , Orakzai and Waziristan tribal agencies to conduct recruitment.

A first video , July 31, 2013 , confirms the presence of TTP fighters in Syria. It shows a group of 10 to 20 Pakistanis and was posted by the ISIS . In September , the media announced that the bodies of 30 Pakistanis have been repatriated to the country , most belonging to LJ or faction Punjab TTP . Participation of TTP to the Syrian uprising is not surprising : it is part of the internationalization strategy promoted by Mehsud , who wants to participate in jihad abroad in connection with al- Qaeda. There were other examples : in June 2012, the president of Niger said that Afghan and Pakistani men are training djihadists in northern Mali . In Yemen, Pakistan conveyed by al- Qaeda militants would train to the us of explosives, one of them Ragaa Bin Ali, even being killed by a drone in 2013. Faisal Shahzad , a young Pakistani living in the United States and who had tried to plant a bomb in Times Square in May 2010, was linked to the TTP . Sending fighters in Syria has also had the effect of reviving sectarian tensions in Pakistan between Sunnis and Shiites.

Jordanians : the radicalization of the Salafi

Since the beginning of the insurgency, Jordanian activists have won Syria8 . Initially, they planned to overthrow Bashar al- assad to install a Sunni Islamic state in a strictly religious dimension. This approach has intensified with the character of increasingly sectarian conflict . Among Jordanians , or Salafi jihadists, who left for Syria, there are some veterans of Afghanistan or Iraq , and some sources speak of several thousand men in all. We know that Zarqawi , a Jordanian , had led al- Qaida in Iraq until his death in June 2006. His spiritual mentor, Abu Muhammad al- Maqdisi , a Jordanian of Palestinian origin , is the leader of jihadism in Jordan. Jihadists seem to be gaining ground around the cities of Maan and Zarqa , the latter being also the hometown of Zarqawi . In October 2012 , the authorities dismantle a cell that is about to commit anti-Western attacks in Amman with explosives and weapons from Syria . It must be said at the outset , they have tended to overlook the transit Jordanian fighters towards this country. Mohammed al- Shalabi , a Jordanian jihadist leaders , says 700 to 800 fighters left in Syria, a number that is difficult to verify . Other reports speak of 500 men.

Mahmoud Abdul Al , the son of Abu Muhammad al- Talawi an influential jihadist sheikhs Jordan, blew himself up in Deraa in October 2012. Al- Tahawi itself encourages Jordanians to join the jihad under the banner of al- Nosra . Other Sunni clerics Jordan did the same since , as the leader of al Qaeda , Ayman al -Zawahiri . At the beginning of hostilities , Jordanians cross the border in the provinces of Daraa and Rif Dishmashq . They are also found in the west and east of Syria , Aleppo, Homs and Deir Zor . The Jordanian government lets first do no doubt with the intention of getting rid inexpensively its jihadists. But when the conflict drags on, the authorities lock the border and put the hola on arms trafficking returning to Jordan. Accordingly, the Jordanians are now a detour through Turkey and into Syria from the north. Most volunteers are integrated into the al- Nosra front and experienced fighters seem even lead some brigades of the organization. Two Jordanians of Palestinian descent from Zarqa , helped in the establishment of the Shura Council of al- Nosra alongside Abu Muhammad al- Juhani , the head of the organization. Both activists Iyad Toubasi and Mustafa Abdul Latif, were part of al-Qaeda command in Iraq. They are present in Syria since the conflict began . The first is also married to the sister of Zarqawi . Abu Gelebeb, his nom de guerre is the emir of al- Nosra for the provinces of Deraa and Damascus . Wounded in December 2012 , he was treated in Turkey before joining the fight. Latif is taking the southern front of al- Nosra . Close to Zarqawi , he organized the arrival of the Syrians who came to Iraq to fight against the Americans.

In December 2013 , the Jordanians are the largest contingent of foreign volunteers who came to fight in Syria alongside the rebels , with more than 2,000 men9 . Abu Sayyaf , leader of the Jordanian jihadists , said 1,200 Jordanians are still in Syria , 200 have been killed since the beginning of their participation. In addition to historical militants, a younger generation go now ,originally native towns Zarqa , Salt , Irbid and Maan . Jordanians are mostly in radical brigades , especially al-Nosra . They would be rather opposed to sweeping views of EIIL regarding the treatment of minorities and practices of war10.

Dutchs : recruitment in targeted community

At least 20 Dutch went to fight in Syria since the start of the civil war and 6 have found death. There are no organized networks so far recruiting Dutch Muslims there, but groups like Sharia4Holland, Behind Bars, Hizb al- Tahrir and Ibrahim Millatu who use the conflict to promote their cause, which is a potential source of radicalization of their audience. It is also quite possible that the total number of Dutch parties in Syria actually exceeds one hundred. 20 people are identified from the Moroccan community, Somali and Turkish importantly, although one of them is from Bosnia . The majority is nevertheless from Moroccan origin. They come from Zeist, Delft, Rotterdam and The Hague (especially neighborhood Schilderswijk). Most men were recruited between 23 and 26 years, although two were minors. Support for the cause is expressed via a website and recruitment would be done by activists from Sharia4Holland Behind Bars that have already made the trip to Syria. Volunteers earn Turkey via the Netherlands or Belgium and fall in northern Syria.

The first Dutch killed in Syria, of Moroccan origin, died in March 2013. He was part of a group of 20 young men from Delft, some with a history of offender himself clearly looking to "redeem their sins" starting fight in Syria. One of his friends, who played in the football team Delfia, is also killed in Syria, as well as his brother. A young woman of 19 years, known as Umm Usama, Zoetermeer, suspected to recruit, was arrested in July 2013. Another recruiter, Murat Ofkeli, monitored by the authorities since 2001 and especially in 2005 when he sent three young Dutch for Chechnya, who were arrested in Azerbaijan, is not taken seriously until the press done echo complaints from parents of candidates for the jihad. Banned from the As-Soennah mosque in The Hague, Ofkeli have died in Syria in June 2013.

The head of Dutch jihadists in Syria, Abu Fidaa, gave an interview to the newspaper De Volkskrant in June 2013. It provides details that are impossible to verify, but which are no less interesting. Thus volunteers are advised to read 48 Laws of Power and The 36 Stratagems of war, for example. According to him, once arrived in Syria, the volunteers are trained for six weeks, then they may be candidates for martyrdom . The Dutch are mixed with other nationalities to promote the integration into a "global" jihad. It is believed that the Dutch are mainly in Aleppo but Abu Fidaa says they are also found in other parts of the country. 3 women have also made ​​the choice to follow their husbands in Syria.

Britain : beyond the " Londonistan "

Since the beginning of the war in Syria , the British authorities have arrested three men suspected of participating in networks of recruitment and referral of volunteers for djihadists groups11. The British case recalls unpleasant memories , including that of Bosnia . Attention is drawn to the British volunteers at the time of the kidnapping of a British journalist and another Dutch, July 19, 2012 , which are eventually released by a group of rebels who helped them enter Syria. However, among their captors, is a dozen British , including a doctor of the National Health Service, Shajul Islam , Bengali origin, intercepted on his return to the country via Egypt on 9 October . Other arrests took place in January 2013 , including that of Shajul brother , and a man who converted a MAC-10 firing white into operational weapon. Najul Islam would have provided the financial support of the journey of his brother and his accomplice , who was arrested with him, and had also conveyed in Syria night vision equipment , telescopic sights and other sensitive materials. In another case , Nassim Terreri and Walid Blidi , two Londoners of Algerian origin, are killed in Darkoush , a few kilometers from the Turkish border, March 26, 2012 . Both belonged to the brigade Hisham Haboub , the Free Syrian Army : they died by opening fire on a convoy system that responded to their fire , another British of the same group being also wounded in the hanging.

The British are in fact found on many battlefields of jihad from Afghanistan . The so-called " Londonistan " community had also produced radical preachers capable of influencing the British youth to push elements to join al- Qaeda and to commit the attacks of 7 July 2005 in London. Since the Arab Spring , however , it is the Arab exile communities , through their links with their countries of origin, which have become important , as in the case of Libya and Tunisia , or even Egypt shows . It is estimated that at least 13,000 Syrian exiles are in the UK , part of which provides funds organized convoys , also feeds the pool of volunteers. But as we have seen , the British strictly speaking are also parties in Syria. There are at least 30 . The Sudanese community of West London talking about 21 men already trained on site, and there would have been departures from the Moroccan and Somali communities. Syrians as a preacher of East London , Abu Basir al- Tartusi , which was not the most radical , are also left to fight in Syria. There are also among them Mustafa Setmariam Nassar, a veteran jihadist theologian Afghanistan arrived in London in the 90's , which had supported radical groups in Algeria before returning to Afghanistan and being arrested by the Americans in 2005 in Quetta, then delivered to the Syrian authorities have released without we understand why, in February 2012. Surur bin Muhammad Zain al- Abidin Nayif in connection with two Saudi dissidents, Saad al- Faqih and Muhammad al- Massari , helps finance insurgents. Salafi theologian , he returned to Qatar in 2004 and then organizes the financial flows to some rebel groups.

Type portrait of British volunteer is the following : a native of Southeast Asian young man between 20 and 30 years , fairly well educated , and who has links with individuals or groups with international relations. Motivations are more a solidarity ummah ( defending " Syrian brothers ) and are facilitated by easy access to Syria via Turkey and the absence of speech that would prevent young Muslims from targeted fight. However, Syrian fighters recommend volunteers not to make their own way in Syria but first contact networks or armed groups to facilitate transit12.

Finns : a scaling

In Finland, the first rumors about parties in Syria fighters began to circulate in the media from August 201213 . A year later , the Interior Ministry confirms that more than 20 Finns have already joined the radical Islamist groups on site. This marks radicalization, filigree, of Finnish Muslims for about two years . Finnish Muslim population , very small at first, grew in the 90's by the contribution of many refugees . It is estimated to 50-60 000 people in 2011 , which 90 % are Sunni . Some Muslims from the second generation , poorly integrated , originating in areas of conflict, became radicalized . However , most radicalized Muslims are related , in fact, to Islamists and other groups with local issues , although several organizations like al- Qaida, the Shabaab , Hezbollah are represented in Finland. The Shabaab , in particular, are more visible because they recruited in the Somali community in Finland (15 000 persons in 2012). The process seems to be restricted from 2012 , when the Shabaab associate clearly with al-Qaeda and begin to use conventional methods of organization like the kamikaze attack car.

It is believed that there were no Finns engaged in Afghanistan . The first Finnish foreign fighter known is Abu Ibrahim, who went to fight in Chechnya and was arrested by the Georgian authorities. His father was an officer in the Finnish army . The largest contingent remains this debauched by Shabaab between 2007 and 2009 , before the radicalization of this movement to al- Qaeda. Some evokes , perhaps , the presence of a Finn in the National Front for the Liberation of Ogaden , Ethiopia. It's with the war in Syria that the quota of Finnish volunteers is the most important. After rumors unveiled in August 2012, a Finnish first martyr Kamal Badri , was identified in January 2013 : he was killed in Aleppo. A few months later , the authorities start talking about ten , then twenty people parts in Syria. The overall picture remains unclear, with lack of information , although it can be inferred that the Muslim community radicalized , Finland, is more structured since two years.

Australia : the Lebanese community and jihad

Regarding Australia, 6 fighters in Syria have been identified as potentially Australians, but with doubts about several of them14 . Three cases , however, are plausible : Roger Abbas Yusuf Topprakaya and a suicide bomber known as Abu Asma al- Australi . Roger Abbas , who was killed in October 2012, came from Melbourne and was of Lebanese origin : it was also a kickboxing champion . Came initially for humanitarian aid , he visibly fought then with al-Nosra . Topprakaya Yusuf , who was killed in December 2012 , was from the Turkish community and was monitored by Australian authorities since 2010. Arrived at the Turkish border in mid -2012 , it expects to enter Syria and joined a local unit of al- Farouq brigade near the city of al- Numan Maarat . He was noted for his skill in shooting and bomb making , before being killed by a sniper. In mid- September 2013 , finally, Abu Asma al- Australi throws a truck filled with 12 tons of explosives against a school that serves as billeting for soldiers of the Syrian regime in the city of al- Mreiya in the province Deir Zor . The kamikaze attack would have granted al- Nosra the means to take the airbase in the city. The martyr , from Brisbane and the Lebanese community , was also monitored by Australian authorities before departure.

Other cases are less documented. In August 2012, a Sydney sheik, Mustapha al- Mazjoub, , was killed in Syria. From Saudi descent , it should be noted that his brother was the only Australian member of the Syrian National Council . He died in combat. In November 2012 , a man named Marwan al- Kassab , regarded as an Australian, died in an explosion in northern Lebanon while manufacturing bombs for Syrian rebels. In April 2013 , Sammy Salma , from Melbourne , who had traveled with Abbas, was also killed . In all, an estimated 80 Australians are parties in Syria and 20 , perhaps , fought with al- Nosra . Most are from the Lebanese community , 70% of them were previously known to the authorities and they came to Syria via Turkey , a little less by Lebanon. Syria is not the first case out of an Australian contingent. Between 1998 and 2003, 20 people had joined Afghanistan and the LeT camps in Pakistan. Between 2002 and 2012 , 16 Australians were arrested in Lebanon, or convicted in absentia for jihadist activities, mainly related to Ansbat al -Ansar and Fatah al -Islam. After the invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia in 2006, from 10 to 40 Australians have also joined the Shabaab in Somalia. Australians are also parties in Yemen in 2010. The conflict in Syria , however, marks a change of scale. One reason is of course the importance of the Lebanese community : the conflict in Syria has more to its members than those in Somalia or Yemen . Then , access to Syria via Turkey is much easier than in previous conflicts. Finally, the character increasingly sectarian conflict and the inability of the Western community to curb clearly have been a breath of fresh air for groups like al- Nosra or ISIS .

The fight is also implemented in Australia. Since early 2012, 17 incidents were identified as being related to the Syrian conflict, mainly Sunni attacks against persons , property or Shia or Alawite shops. They occur mostly in Sydney and Melbourne and involve people from Syrian , Turkish and Lebanese . Australia has experienced several preparations of terrorist attacks thwarted before execution, against the Sydney Olympics in 2000, a LeT in 2003 , and two autonomous cells dismantled in Sydney and Melbourne in 2005, which included individuals trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan . A planned attack against the Army Barracks in 2009 Hollsworthy again stopped in time , involved men who participated in the financing network and recruitment Shabaab . Note however that sectarian incidents declined in 2013.

In December 2013, two men were arrested in Sydney. Police say one of two men, Hadmi Alqudsi, was a recruiter for al-Nosra and probably for ISIS (he would have sent at least six people in Syria). The second man arrested was about to go. To Andrew Zammit, the specialist in question, this means that the routing networks in Australia are getting more organized. December 8, moreover, the authorities announced that they have confiscated 20 passports fear for starts to Syria, bringing the total so far to 90 in all.

Sweden : a profile of highly targeted fighters

In April 2013, the Swedish Security Service estimates that 30 people have already joined the Syrian insurgents15. The author of the article reference on the matter personally identified 18 Swedes , who have certainly won Syria. Almost all of these people come from the south - western Sweden , and more than half of the suburbs of Gothenburg, the second city of the country. 11 are from the suburbs of Angered and Bergjsön . The bonds of friendship undoubtedly play : three candidates belonged to the same martial arts circle. Other attending a well-known radical mosque in Gothenburg, Bellevue Masjid. Only one of these men had a direct link with Syria, which he joined in June 2013. A third of those born in Sweden to immigrant parents . The rest comes from different countries : Iraq, Jordan, Kosovo , Morocco and even Philippines. Yet at least 10 are of Lebanese origin ( 2 of which were perhaps Palestinians ) . One had Swedish origins . These are all men : the average age is 23.5 years. Most come from families with many children and low-income. 8 were unemployed or have no income of any kind. 8 were also known for crime, including 4 for drug cases and 3 for violence. One of the volunteers, Abo Isa, was a hardened criminal : he was jailed three times and was sentenced 15 times .

Of the 18 Swedish , 8 were killed in Syria. Abu Kamal suffered a shrapnel tank shell fatal wound in Aleppo, January 2013. In mid- March , a video presents him as a member of al- Kataib Muhajirin , a British has also perished during the same operation. Abu Omar was killed in April 2013 by a rocket RPG ; again , it would have served with a radical group. Abu Dharr , who had conducted the first propaganda video in Swedish , was killed in April 2013. Abu Abdurahmann was killed in June 2013 in the province of Idlib , he was also part of al- Kataib Muhajirin . Two brothers, Abu Maaz and Abu Osman, also died in Syria. They were killed in an attack on a regime checkpoint near Abu Zeid , close to the Krak des Chevaliers in the province of Homs. Abu Maaz died driving a kamikaze car and older brother in the exchange of fire that followed. They served in Jund al -Sham . Another brother was killed 18 months earlier , in 2012, during sectarian clashes in Tripoli, Lebanon. Abu Omar Kurdi was killed in August 2013 during the assault on the airbase of Minnagh . In addition to the 8 dead identified two others might have been Swedish : Adam Sully Wali killed by a grenade March 29, 2013 (the only Swede who had joined the Free Syrian Army and not a radical group) and Abu Mohammad al -Baghdadi , who was killed in late August 2013. All Swedes joined , except Wali, radical groups : al- Nosra , Kataib al- Jund al- Muhajirin and Sham . Some even joined the ISIS . Many are strongly suspected of war crimes .

9 out of 18 Swedes were identified previously linked to terrorism or jihadism. Isa al- Suedi is the younger brother of a man condemned for the preparation of a Mumbai -type attack against a Danish newspaper , with three other men from Sweden. He was arrested at the border with Somalia in 2007 and in Waziristan in 2009. Abu Omar was the son of an Albanian jihadist from Kosovo . One of the uncles of the siblings was imprisoned for participating in the preparation of an attack against trains in Germany in May 2006 , and another was the fourth supervisor of the Lebanese Fatah al -Islam movement, and was killed by the Lebanese army in May 2007. Abu Dharer Filippino announce from Syria in late October 2012 he was trained in Pakistan in 2001 by the LeT . He returned to Sweden in spring 2013 and has since intense propaganda for jihad . The typical profile of Swedish volunteers is quite targeted a young man , southwestern Sweden, probably from the suburbs of Gothenburg, a Syrian immigrant family but not without employment, already convicted of crime. Friends or relatives can connect to terrorism or jihadism.

Chechens and North Caucasians : small but influential

Chechens are also among the foreign parties in the Syrian uprising16. The first North -Caucasian fighters are reported in the month of August 2012. The volunteers for Syria is not without cause discord , especially among Chechens and Ingush, because the local fight is always considered more important , against Russia , that the foreign wars as the Syrian conflict. Rustam Gelayev was the first Chechen killed in August 2012. Since then, including Chechens formed the backbone of the Jaysh al- Muhajireen wal al- Ansar , a ISIS-releted group rallied in November 2013 (see below) . We found in Syria not only Chechens and North Caucasians from the region in question, but also community members in exile or refugees near the borders of Caucasus17.

Three commanders , Emir Muslim , Emir Seifullah and Emir Abu- Musaaba won Syria October 31, 2013 and formed a new group under the authority of Muslim, who previously headed Jundu Sham . Muslim probably attracted to it some fighters serving under the emir Umar Shishani , men who fought in Chechnya and Dagestan. They are experienced fighters who also also know that Muslim has important links with donors in the Middle East since the time of Ibn al- Khattab .

Arab replace fighters leaving Shishani , but it will be difficult to maintain the cohesion of a group of men he does not necessarily speak the language . Most volunteers Chechen from Europe , however, seem join this group. In December 2013 , Muslim claims he have 1,500 fighters while Shishani align 600. Both groups have Chechens , other nationalities of the Caucasus and Arabs , Syrians or not. There are also other groups with Chechens. Abu Musa , who arrived in Syria in 2012, lead a group of 300 men. Jamaat group Caliphate of Amir Abdulkhakim count 100 militants. If Shishani recognizes the authority of Doku Umarov , the leader of the Chechen insurrection against the Russians , this is not the case of Muslim . Furthermore , Shishani is integrated in the structure of the ISIS unlike Muslim . The emir Salaudin , Umarov 's representative in Syria, became the leader of the Caucasian volunteers. In Chechnya itself , the influx has increased since the fall but for now concerns a maximum of 100 people, including perhaps some women. But the Chechens have incorporated the most powerful groups in the insurgency and their influence is probably unrelated to their actual number .

The Germans continued radicalization

Germany , unlike France or the United Kingdom within the EU, opposed sending military assistance or direct intervention to topple Bashar al -Assad18. This has not prevented a growing number of Germans to join the jihad in Syria. German media also talk in recent months of a true German "boot camp " in Syria to attract volunteers practicing the language of Goethe . The phenomenon is not new . In 2009, a "German" camp was thus installed in Pakistan to supply the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan related to al- Qaeda. In 2012, the German intelligence evokes genuine German " Salafist colony " in Egypt , including more than 60 fighters , including the famous rapper Denis Cuspert ("
Deso Dogg"), which had escaped the vigilance of the German security services and fight now in Syria. In mid- November 2013, the German police also stated that " Deso Dogg " plans to conduct attacks against Germany, that he immediately denies in a video. There are rumors of his death in late November 2013, but it seems rather that he is hospitalized in Syria or in Turkey.

The Germans , from a specialist, are not in the majority in al- Nosra and ISIS, which are victims of "
spy mania " distrust new converts as " Deso Dogg ". The German security services had already been put on the spot in 2012 by the New York Times which stated that a Tunisian who might have served as a bodyguard to bin Laden a year before the September 11 attacks had lived quietly in Germany for some time . Sami A. , because of his experience and training in the camps in Afghanistan, would have been a source of influx of volunteers for jihad . The latest estimate is that 230 Germans , in the high case , which would have left Syria. In March 2013, the number was only 60 , before moving to 150 in August. The Land of Hessen had to install a special monitoring device to curb departures teenagers to the Syrian jihad. From 23 cases studied, most of the recruits were under 25 years and 9 are still in school . The Minister of Interior has created a device to differentiate radical tendencies among the candidates initially on the model of what has been done to neo-Nazi and extreme right-wing movements.

German fighters had also participated in the massacre of Syrian Christians . Germany fears that the return of these fighters boost the radical Salafist fringe and the tension is high with Turkey , accused of having maintained a porous border with Syria and have favored the access of European volunteers to the battlefield.

Volunteers of Central Asia

Numbers of Central Asia foreign fighters climbed in 2013 , and those who return may boost the destabilization of regimes after syrian experience19. Already in March 2013, the Jaysh al- Muhajirin wal- Ansar group , dominated by Chechens and North Caucasians, have already announced to have Central Asian fighters. Two months later , a Tajik newspaper confirms that the citizens of this country have gone through training camps in Syria. In June , a site confirms that Uzbek Tajiks gained Syria and recruiters also would draw on seasonal workers who leave for Russia. A year earlier , in 2012, a report in the Guardian mentioned Turkish smuggler working with djhadistes who claimed to see many Uzbeks cross the northern border of Syria.

The same month of June 2013 , Kazakhstan stops 8 of its citizens seeking to raise funds to finance a trip to Syria . In July, a Kazakh nicknamed Abu Muadh al- Muhajir calls via video from Damascus his countrymen to engage in jihad . The Kyrgyzstan for its part recognizes that twenty national parties are likely to fight in Syria, and also mentions hold others arrested at airports. There are also Chinese citizens. In March 2013, a Han converted to Islam , Yusuf al- Sini (Bo Wang) , appears in a video Jaysh al- Muhajirin wal -Ansar . Another video from al- Nosra seems to stage a Uighur , called the "Chinese jihadist" . Islamic Party of Turkistan , based in Pakistan and run by Uighurs have sent fighters to Syria.

It seems that the volunteers of Central Asia , due to difficulties in adapting to the Syrian context, have aroused deep resentment among the people of the north , where they are involved in majority. That is why the Syrian fighters have sometimes encouraged them to return home to pursue jihad . China in July 2013 reported the arrest of a Uighur student who studied in Istanbul and then fought in Aleppo and have prepared attacks in Xinjiang. 15 people behind an attack against a police station and its surroundings Turpang in June were denied departure for Syria and would have led a local operation . On 12 September, at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan announced that he dismantled a cell of the Islamic Jihad Union , which would target the summit. Moreover, it has long been known that many thousands of Central Asian fighters were involved in Afghanistan, including members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan , on the northern borders of the country , in the provinces of Kunduz and Takhar.

The Turks : organized networks ?

For three decades , Turks involved in external conflicts with foreign fighters20 . They fought in Afghanistan ( against the Soviets and the West ) , Iraq , Bosnia, and the North Caucasus, some even held senior positions in the armed groups. Cevdet Doger , alias Emir Abdullah Kurd , was the second in command of the North Caucasus fighters before his death in May 2011. In August 2012, a Turkish journalist reported the death of four Turkish soldiers near Aleppo , which then operated at least 50 men of the same nationality.

Jihadists offer a wide range of data online in Turkish , as do the Facebook pages of al- Nosra or ISIS . Videos of Turkish fighters , justifying their action and calling for jihad volunteers are posted regularly. The Emir Seyfullah , a Chechen who lived in Turkey and who leads a breakaway faction of the group Jaysh Ansar al- wa Muhajirin, now rallied to EIIL group, is directly addressed to the Turks in a video dated July 2013. Many fighters from the North Caucasus were still living in Turkey in recent years. A video posted in July 2013 also lists 27 Turkish "martyrs" fallen in Syria, most of them from the east : Gazianatep , Diyarbakir , Adana . The age of martyrs is 17 to much older people.

Ahmet Zorlu , 30, alias Emir Ahmed Seyyaf , was killed with four other Turks during an operation to Han el Asel near Aleppo . Arrived in Syria a few months earlier , Zorlu likely led a group of Turkish soldiers. Abdurrahman Koc , from the province of Adiyaman, was an old man, head of a religious association. He arrived in Syria in January 2013 and was killed by a sniper during the siege of the airbase of Minagh in July . One of his associates, Yakup Senatas of Kurdish origin, was also killed on July 25 at the same location . Metin Ekinci was killed a year earlier , in July 2012, Aleppo. Member of a religious organization rather moderate , it is the brother of Azaz Ekinci , involved in the attack against the HSBC building in Istanbul November 20, 2003, an organized attacks by al- Qaeda in the city who have claimed the lives of 57 people.

Belgians : the weight of Sharia4Belgium

Belgium has a long-standing relationship with its dual Maghreb or Turkish immigrants . In the 1960's , the Moroccan and Turkish immigration was encouraged in order to provide cheap labor for the coal and steel industry , which allowed Belgium to take its place in European construction. The decline of heavy industry has not led to the departure of these immigrants . Today , some people of the third and fourth generations are on the margins of Belgian society. Part of the immigrant youth of Moroccan origin rocker in crime from 1980-1990 .

Capitalizing on these integration difficulties, the party Sharia4Belgium was born March 3, 2010 . Salafi spokesman Fouad Belkacem , is persona non grata in the public square . After several lawsuits and public pressure , the party is finally dissolved Oct. 7, 2012 . The war then raging in Syria for a year and a half. It takes a few months to get the first information about the Belgian and Dutch volunteers left to join the jihad in Syria. As regards Belgium, the first people is identified in March 2013 , with the Flemish language on videos posted from Syria . Parents Brian De Mulder and Jejoen Bontinck recognize their sons on videos. The far-right Vlaams Belang managed to indoctrinate a family for propaganda while the father of Bontinck went to Syria to look for his son . All blame Sharia4Belgium21.

On 10 April 2013 a Belgian weekly published an article on national jihadists , saying that 12 of them have already been killed (figure still unconfirmed) . In June, two newspapers provide information on the quota after the death of Abd ar -Rahman Ayashi , a Franco - Syrian who had left Belgium in 2012 after 8 years of jailing. He became battalion commander in the group Suqour as -Sham , leading no less than 600 men in combat. He was the son of Sheikh Bassam Ayashi , a Syrian from Molenbeek , Brussels. The family is monitored by the Belgian authorities since at least September 2009. A few months earlier , a friend of Ayashi , the French Raphael Gendron, was also killed in Syria. Other Belgians died in combat, there are also Abouallal Nur ad Din , member Sharia4Belgium , killed July 25, 2013 . 33 other members of the group are still fighting in Syria in September, which Hussyan Elouassaki , alias Abu Fallujah , which lead the brigade Ansar Majlis Shura al- Mujahideen , near Aleppo , who committed beheadings . The number of Belgians already left to Syria is then evaluated to 150-200 .

The Spaniards

In December 2013, Spanish experts believed that 17 people had traveled to fight in Syria within djihadists groups22. 11 are Spanish citizens and 6 other Moroccan immigrants living in Spain. Most come from Ceuta, the Spanish enclave in Moroccan territory , which has 85,000 inhabitants , of which 37 % are Muslim . Ceuta Spaniards which start for Syria from the month of April 2012 belong to the poorest social classes. Moroccans are also parties mainland cities such as Girona and Malaga. They are all men, aged 16 to 49, most are between 25 and 30 years old and married. Except maybe 3 or 4 of them , none had special bond with jihadist networks . At least two , however, had participated in jihadist events held since 2008 in Ceuta and a municipality in the province of Cadiz. The exception is Muhannad Almallah Dabas , a naturalized Spanish Syrian who was part of the Spanish cell implanted by al- Qaeda since the mid-1990's before being disbanded in November 2001. Dabas was arrested and tried for the attacks in Madrid in 2004, before being released. He then moved to Syria where he is in charge of logistics for al- Nosra , with his young son .

Spaniards join especially al-Nosra or ISIS, or Harakat al -Sham group of Moroccans. Those who lack djihadist experience undergo a process of radicalization in Ceuta or in neighboring towns as Moroccan Castillejos . Two or three recruiters operating across the border in a hierarchical network : it promotes volunteerism by providing money to families. Volunteers earn Algeciras ferry, then join Malaga or Madrid where they are flying to Istanbul. Once in Turkey, they are routed in the border province of Hatay , where group members responsible for collection make them cross the border. Sometimes flights depart from Istanbul to Casablanca. In Syria , the volunteers go through training camps. Some are assigned to kamikaz bombers cells -three cases were identified . In addition to the Spaniards having joined jihadist groups , at least 25 others have also previously joined the Free Syrian Army and may have changed since allegiance .

On 5 January 2014 the Spanish police arrested Abdel Wahid Mohamed Sadik, considered related to EIIL. He was arrested at the descent of his flight to Malaga from Istanbul. Originating in Ceuta, Mohamed had left in May to Syria via Turkey, and was trained in the camps of EIIL. Spanish police have arrested several members of a cell that recruit in Ceuta, including candidates for kamikaze attacks. The leader, Ahmed Yassin Laarbi, was arrested last September, after 8 other people in September.


September 5 , 2013, a suicide car bomb in Nasr City , a suburb of Cairo, targets the Minister of the Interior. The attack , which injured 20 people, is claimed by Ansar Bayt al- Maqdis , a jihadist group in the Sinai. Two months later , the jihadists posting a video of the bomber , Walid Badr, former officer in the Egyptian army and especially veteran of fighting in Syria.
The Syrian conflict indeed provides valuable experience to Egyptian jihadists who seek to destabilize the military regime . At last count , between 119 and 358 Egyptians have already taken part in the fighting in Syria. Another fighter of the same group , Saeed al- Shahat, had killed a police officer and had blown his belt with bombs when security forces had invested his apartment. He also was a veteran of Syria. Bayt al- Maqdis Ansar has gradually established itself as the most violent among the Egyptian jihadist group nebula : the car bomb on 24 December in Mansura shows that its capabilities are growing , perhaps under the influence of returning combatants parties in Syria.

Hundreds of Egyptians were left to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan in the late 1980's. Veterans of that conflict had kept the ranks of both organizations later linked to al- Qaeda , al- Gama'a al- Islamiyya and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and who had spread terror in Egypt in the 1990's. The overthrow of President Morsi has provided ammunition to jihadists. An ideologue , Sheikh Abu al- Mundhir al- Shinqiti , called for war against the security services, the EIIL declared its support for his "
brothers" Egyptian . On 1 September 2013, Egyptian security forces arrested Adel Habbara , allegedly linked to al- Qaeda , allegedly led a group called Al- Muhajereen wal -Ansar in the Sinai Peninsula , which is responsible for the execution of 25 soldiers in August. Habbara have sworn allegiance to EIIL and would have seen promised 10,000 dollars to fund the activities of the armed group. Videos of the group are increasingly referring to speech Baghdadi , the leader of the EIIL . In addition to the Egyptians went to fight in Syria , the group also recruit among the community of Syrian refugees arrived in Egypt since 2011. The commander of the Islamic State in Iraq, the ancestor of EIIL was also until his death in April 2010, an Egyptian, Abu Ayyub al- Masri, close to Zarqawi.

Egyptians who go fight in Syria therefore come from quite diverse backgrounds , even if their profile has common points. Aboubakr Moussa, who was killed in battle alongside the Syrian uprising, was on graduate e of the best schools in Cairo and became "religious" after his university entrance . At the mosque, he met a man whose sister he married, the widow of a Chechen . He tries to win Chechnya but is repressed by the Russian authorities and imprisoned six months by the Egyptian police. Remarried after his first wife having left , he participated in the overthrow of Mubarak and in aid convoys to Libya - we do not know whether he took part in the fighting there. He then went to Syria via a network obviously quite organized and fighting in Damascus, in the province of Idlib , Homs , al -Quseir, before being killed on 1 September 2012. Refat Ahmed , a jihadist who escaped Egyptian prisons in favor of reversing Moubarrak , was killed in Syria July 7, 2012 . He had fought with arms in hand against Gaddafi before joining the syrian jihad. Abu Rami, aged 37 , made four trips back to Syria in 2012, where he won the confidence of the association responsible for maintaining order in the territories liberated by the insurgency. He entered Turkey , as many foreign fighters : according to him the trip would cost $ 250 in total. He further stated that the volunteers for jihad in Egypt were educated people without social or financial problems. By February 2013, the Egyptian government has published the names of 10 national citizens killed in battle in Syria. Abu Rami added 3 more , which would be entered by Lebanon and would have died in Homs this month. Abu Ahmed , an Egyptian student of 34 years in England , left his wife and child to join a brigade of the Free Syrian Army via the crossing point of Bab el -Hawa at the Turkish border . Although affiliate of al- Gama'a al- Islamiyya , he claims not to have used this network : it's the encounter of an exile starting again for jihad who convinced him. He bought an AK -47 belonging to a dead fighter 700 dollars and paid 80 dollars for ammunition. He cooks for his armed group before being involved in small operations and being wounded in the leg and then he was treated and returned to Egypte.

Jérôme Drevon also explains how the conflict between al-Nosra and ISIS impacted on the Egyptian jihadist landscape. One faction, called "purists", is aligned with the ISIS and rejects al- Nosra , especially because this movement welcomes Egyptian volunteers who do not have the same political ideas that jihadists, as Sheikh Hazim Abu Ismail. These Egyptian jihadists reject both al- Nosra which is confined to the Syrian jihad only militarily, but also the direction of al- Qaeda, ie Zahawiri, who supported al- Nosra in his quarrel with the EIIL. They rallied to Abu Umar al- Kuwaiti, who leads a group of foreign fighters, Jamaat al- Muslimin, located near the Turkish border to Atme and Bab el -Hawa. The group is associated with EIIL but more excommunicated al- Nosra, what rejected EIIL itself. Purists oppose also at the mainstream of Egyptian Salafism which promotes itself reconciliation current. What is interesting, perhaps, is the centrality of the Syrian experience in the redefinition of jihadism from Salafism.


From September 2012, there are reports of the death of Tunisians alongside al-Furqan battalion, an armed group in the province of Idlib linked to al-Nosra. In March 2013, the Tunisian authorities estimate that 40 % of foreign fighters from the Syrian uprising are Tunisians. Two-thirds would fight in al-Nosra. Most Tunisian jihadists would then be from the town of Ben Gardane, south of Tunis. The city is located in the province of Médenine on the border with Libya. Qatar would supply money for Tunisian non-governmental organizations to recruit, offering up to 3,000 dollars per person. The fighters are grouped and trained in camps in the desert triangle between Libya, Tunisia and Algeria, sent to Turkey and then inserted in Syria. Libyan jihadist groups have established training camps in the province of Ghadames, less than 70 km from the Tunisian border. Volunteers complete their military training for 20 days in the province of Zawiyah and earn the port of Brega to Istanbul, to finish at the Syrian border. Some Tunisian fighters also come from Lebanon , especially if they are winning or near Damascus , Aleppo or when it is other northern cities, they go through Turkey.

In autumn 2013, the phenomenon seems a little better understood . It is not limited to a poor class, effectively providing volunteers : graduates from middle and upper classes also participate in djihad. While initially the south of Tunisia, Islamists traditionally, includes the big battalions, today Tunisians go from the center and the north - Bizerte has become one of the bastions of the case. Ayman Nabeli Tabalba leaves his town in the central province of Monastir, to fight in the ranks of the ISIS. Born in 1986 , the youngest of a family of eight children, he is not particularly religious from the start. It was after the 2011 revolution he became a Salafi. Tunisian Salafists have indeed invested mosques after the victory of the Ennahda party in the elections, and in particular that of al-Iman, near the house of Ayman. Despite the efforts of his family, the Tunisian authorities are relatively tolerant towards Salafists. Whole flights of Turkish Airlines carry volunteers for jihad to Istanbul. In the suburbs of Tunis , the state has disappeared with the fall of Ben Ali and Ennahda intrudes including through controlled Salafist mosques. The Tunisian Interior Minister stated that its services have already prevented 6,000 men to travel to Syria ... a Tunisian had shot a video for Jaysh al- Muhajireen wa al- Ansar , the Omar Shishani group now rallied to EIIL in July 2013. In May of the same year, the Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs had yet recognized the presence of a maximum of 800 Tunisians in Syria, a local radio talking about much larger numbers, with no less than 132 Tunisians killed in February 2013 in Aleppo region , mostly from Sidi-Bou-Zid, where the revolution began in 2011. But these figures appear to be largely overestimated, radio is also customary for the dissemination of false information.

The course of Aymen Saadi, who failed to detonate his explosives near a presidential mausoleum, that of Bourguiba, south of Tunis in October 2013, illustrates the variety of recruitment. City of Zarghouan, east of Tunis, however, is not a known bastion of Islam. Aymen has excellent grades in school, especially in languages and history. In the end of 2012, however, he became radicalized, showing an influence of Salafis, then wins the Libyan training camps in March 2013. He nevertheless found strapped with explosives in Tunisia , not in Syria. Abu Talha, from a town near the Libyan border, fought near Aleppo. He spent six months in an Islamist brigade in 2012. He then traveled to Syria alone before making contact with the rebels on the Turkish border, which shows perhaps the most sophisticated and organized networks were formed at the end of 2012 -early 2013. Syrian commander teaches recruits the handling of the AK- 47, RPG and guns , all interspersed with readings from the Koran and other religious courses . Abu Talha had fought side by side with the al-Nosra front.

Abu Ayman is an example of voluntary recruited by Ansar al-Charia. Architect in Tunis, he decided to fight in Syria with two neighbors. It flies to Amman in Jordan, where he must succeed in crossing the border, patrolled by Jordanian intelligence. Once the insertion done, Abu Ayman and his companions are separated. He finally landed in the fighting on the outskirts of Damascus. He joined a unit, Ansar al-Sharia, which has 300 fighters, including many foreigners (Chechens, Kosovars, and Tunisians). In August 2013, Aaron Zelin had interviewed a Tunisian fighter return from Syria, in the province of Nabeul, east of Tunis. Coming from a modest background, this fighter is back with money that enabled him to help his family live better. His boss a Salafist who has ties with Saudi Arabia, had financed part of his trip to Turkey. He probably fought with al- Nosra : he had become more "religious" in 2011, after the Tunisian revolution, following first Ennahda and then the Salafists. The mosque was dependent of Ansar al -Sharia, an Egyptian imam came from Saudi Arabia. It seems that Ansar al-Charia directs his fighters to al-Nosra, and vouch : three other men were left with this voluntary, one was killed. On his return, he was arrested on his descent of the aircraft and detained for three and a half months before being released. .

With regard to training camps in Libya which see pass Tunisian volunteers and others, they are the result of the activity from Ansar al- Sharia movement in Libya, a former rebel brigade that fought Gaddafi in 2011, before conducting the bombing that killed U.S. Ambassador consulate in Benghazi in September 2012. It is this organization that organizes the transit passage pf volunteers through mobile camps throughout eastern Libya, near the Tunisian border. According to official reports, dozens of Algerians and Tunisens arrive each week to be trained in these camps before leaving by plane with false passports Libyans in Benghazi, Ansar al- Sharia enjoying accomplices at the airport. Ayman Saadi , arrested October 30, 2013 near the mausoleum of Bourguiba, probably passed through these camps in Benghazi and Derna but the Libyans then returned him to Tunisia, not in Syria. It is not known if Saadi had links with Ansar al-Sharia in Libya. We know however that both Tunisia and Libya movements are related : the first receives such weapons from second.

On the battlefield , what can we say about the intervention of foreign volunteers ?

It is common to read, when we talk about war in Syria, the al-Nosra gathers mainly Syrian fighters while ISIS especially includes foreign volunteers . It is true that most Sunni foreign fighters joining the ISIS , but they also contribute to other formations23.

Jaysh al- Muhajireen wa al -Ansar is controlled by Omar ash-Shishani, a veteran of the Georgian army . In May 2013, it was named emir of northern Syria by the Head of ISIS, a sector which includes the provinces of Aleppo, Raqqa , northern Idlib and Latakia . Following this designation, the Shishani's Omar becomes a screen of ISIS. If the designation of origin is preserved, it is to show a wider ideological front there , when in reality , the group is only a reflection of the ISIS . The same phenomenon is observed with many Iranian militias fighting for regime. In August 2013, the group plays a crucial role in breaking the airbase of Minnagh , under the command of an Egyptian, Abu Jandal al- Masri . Late November 2013 , a new division is born between those who remain faithful to the ISIS Shishani and those who retain the "label" of origin and have a new commander , Salah ad -Din ash- Shishani . It now leads the group which includes the Chechens and Caucasians who refused to swear allegiance to the ISIS partly because they had already done to the Emir of the Caucasus, Umarov . Part of fighters , led by al- Seyfullak Shishani , the second of Omar that he had expelled this summer, apparently fought with al-Nosra front during the recent capture of al -Kindi hospital in Aleppo24. This fraction , called the Mujahideen of the Caucasus and the Levant , is separated from the Omar Shishani group since August 2013. Its leader, Emir Seyfullak, is regularly intervened before the split in the band's videos in Russian. It is a native of the Chechen Pankisi Gorge , Georgia , who has long lived in Turkey, which houses a Chechen exile community (1500 people)25 . In December 30, 2013, al- Shishani Seyfullak solemnly swear allegiance to Abu Mohammad al- Joulani , the leader of al- Nosra26.

Jamaat Jund ash-Sham is a battalion based in the rural western province of Homs. Founded by Lebanese fighters , it also includes Syrians. The group approaches the ISIS but it not hostile to al- Nosra . Sunni Lebanese activists pro- EIIL Tripoli relay informations from the group, suggesting links with this community.

Green Battalion emerged in August 2013. It is close to ISIS and al-Nosra but is distinguished by its independence, and to do this, this emblem changed , for example, in September. The group is led by the Saudis but also includes Syrians. He has conducted joint operations with the ISIS and al- Nosra in the mountains of Qalamoun , as well as other important groups as Jaysh al -Islam, in the desert areas of the province of Homs held by the regime - where he also claimed to have seized numerous weapons . This is the Green Battalion , in connection with the ISIS , who took over the city of Deir Atiyeh during the "battle" of Qalamoun before the city was conquered by the regime and its Shiite militiamen .

Sham Harakat al -Islam was founded in mid- August 2013 by Moroccan fighters. He participated in the offensive in the province of Latakia in summer 2013 and has also collaborated with al- Nosra in Aleppo province , including an attack on the central prison of the city, which has not attended the ISIS. During the offensive of Latakia , the group lost a Moroccan former detainee at Guantanamo , Mohammed al- Alami, who came from Ahrar al -Sham group . He led the brigade of " Shredders " during the offensive of Latakia. Others killed in this operation are Mohamed al- Nebras , a native of Tangier , who led the Ebada Ibn al- Samet brigade and Al- Sedik al- Sabe, a Dutchman born in Morocco. We also know that 11 other Moroccans were killed in early August 2013 during fighting against the regime : they joined the Free Syrian Army in May and came from the province of Al -Haouz . Another veteran al- Qaeda of Moroccan origin, Ibrahim bin Shakaran directs the group. He is a veteran of the Moroccan jihadism : it was formed in Mauritania in the 90's , lived in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran , Pakistan and Afghanistan. He founded the Jamaat Tawhid Wal Jihad in Morocco before spending six years prison. It clearly seeks to pose as a future leader of the jihadist struggle in Morocco. In September 2013 , an estimated 50 to 100 Moroccans had left to fight in Syrie. The group is virtually linked , in fact, to al- Nosra , "official" branch of al- Qaeda in Syria. It also boasts a commitment that serves as a kind of workout bench so that the fighters then return to Morocco and the Maghreb to fight against the regimes. Recently, Aymenn Jawad al- Tamimi identified Mizouz Mohammed , alias Abu al- Izz al- Muhajir , a third Moroccan former detainee at Guantanamo now part of Harakat al- Sham Islam. The group recently participated in the capture of al -Kindi hospital in Aleppo , alongside al- Nosra and Islamic Front.
Suqur al- Izz , as Green Battalion, was created and is run by Saudis, at odds with al- Nosra and ISIS , even if the logo and certain statements seem to bring this independent battalion to ISIS . Born in February 2013, the group operates in the province of Latakia , and participated in the coordinated offensive with al- Nosra and ISIS . Among his martyrs , there are an Indonesian and Syrians killed mainly Aleppo in late November 2013. Following the fighting against the ISIS, the group finally rallies al-Nosra the 13 January 2014.

The Lions of Caliphate battalion is also based in Latakia and was founded by an Egyptian, Abu Muadh al- Masri . In mid- November 2013 , it announced his support for the ISIS . The Jund Allah brigade in Bilad ash- Sham is a group that operates in the provinces of Idlib and Hama and has its own battalion of foreign volunteers .

It remains difficult to accurately assess the number of foreign fighters in Syria, but lists of martyrs (killed in action) , however, permit fine enough to assess losses and see the country of origin of volonteers. In December 2013, with a total of over 1,100 jihadists killed in Syria , which represents a very significant increase for the year, there were only 85 in February and 280 in June. The 9 most represented countries confirm a domination of Arab recruitment29.

Source :

Aaron Y. Zelin, « Foreign Jihadists in Syria: Tracking Recruitment Networks », Policy Watch 2186, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, December 19th 2013.

One of the most interesting lessons of recent statistics is the growing importance of the number of Saudi volunteers and losses accordingly. Just 20% of 11 00 records provide affiliate group of martyr , but in those which are known , al- Nosra and ISIS dominate . We also know that 15 Saudis come from the province of al- Qassim , and perhaps another 22 from the provincial capital , Buraydah . The most surprising is that the largest contingent seems to come from Riyadh , the capital. Libya is also a flagship location, a real hub for Syrian jihadists. Groups like Ansar al -Sharia have provided training Libyans, Tunisians and other North Africans. Syrians even came acquire training on site before returning to their country. In Tunisia , recruitment seems more widespread across the country , which seems to attest to the importance of networks in place to supply the Syrian jihad , including groups like Ansar al -Sharia.
We know the place of death of 760 martyrs of 1 100 . They died in 12 of 14 provinces Syrian , with the exception of Tartous , bastion of the regime, and Quneitra . The heaviest losses occurred during the offensive in the summer of 2013 called "Cleaning the coast" , near Latakia , another stronghold of the Syrian regime . Of the 88 jihadists who were killed here , 50 were in August , during that offensive. The largest losses are still concentrated in Aleppo, a rebel stronghold where the fightings were among the heaviest.


The influx of foreign volunteers resulted in important consequences30. He contributed not only to strengthen the most radical factions of the Syrian uprising , but he also revitalized radical communities in the countries where these parties are voluntary . This influx , which probably mark an entire generation of jihadists fighters , is facilitated by the relatively simple conditions of access to Syria , particularly because many states support the same camp as these fighters , which inhibits the suppression of such transit . In addition, the northern border of Syria is controlled by the rebels , leaving Turkey, one of the mainstays of the insurgency as the only " border guard " and unwilling to stop the flow . Volunteers can go well in Syria, return to their country of origin for recruitment and propaganda , or leave. The large number of women from Europe also shows a change in attitude on the part of radicals. In addition, the very localized nature war in Syria make that the fighters can not necessarily be exposed to fire immediately , or even at all, which approximates Syria from Afghanistan under the Soviets. The Syrian conflict also reflects sectarian fracture lines that had been seen in Iraq , which traditionally do not attract foreign volunteers : but the important thing here is perhaps more who to help , rather than those to fight. The scale and speed of mobilization of foreign fighters have been greatly accelerated by the Internet and social networks , but also because the authorities of the country of origin does not have a systematic repression , as has been said. This explains , for example, the number of European volunteers has tripled in 6 months.


David Barnett, « Blowback in Cairo.The Syrian civil war has now reached the heart of Egypt. », Foreign Policy, 9 janvier 2014.

Samar Batrawin « The Dutch Foreign Fighter Contingent in Syria », CTC Sentinel, Volume 6 Issue 10, octobre 2013, p.6-10.

Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, « Egyptian Fighters Join 'Lesser Jihad' in Syria », Al-Monitor, 17 avril 2013.

Per Gudmundson, « The Swedish Foreign Fighter Contingent in Syria », CTC Sentinel, Volume 6 Issue 9, septembre 2013, p.5-9.

Thomas Hegghammer, « Number of foreign fighters from Europe in Syria is historically unprecedented. Who should be worried? », The Monkey Cage, 27 novembre 2013.

Thomas Hegghamer, Syria's Foreign Fighters, Middle East Channel, Foreign Policy.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, « Musings of an Iraqi Brasenostril on Jihad: Muhajireen Battalions in Syria », Jihadology.net, 13 décembre 2013.

Mawassi Lahcen, « Un Marocain crée un groupe jihadiste en Syrie », Magharebia, 6 septembre 2013.

Aron Lund, « Who Are the Foreign Fighters in Syria? An Interview With Aaron Y. Zelin », Carnegie Middle East Center/Guide to Syria in Crisis, 5 décembre 2013.

Suha Philip Ma’ayeh, « Jordanian Jihadists Active in Syria », CTC Sentinel, Volume 6 Issue 10, octobre 2013, p.10-13.

Shiraz Maher, « ICSR Insight: British Foreign Fighters in Syria », The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, 15 octobre 2013.

North Caucasus Caucus, « Turkish Fighters in Syria, Online and Off », Jihadology.net, 20 août 2013.

Raffaello Pantucci, « British Fighters Joining the War in Syria », CTC Sentinel, Volume 6 Issue 2, février 2013, p.11-15.

Fernando Reinares et Carola García-Calvo, «  Jihadists from Spain in Syria: facts and figures », Elcano Royal Institute, 12 décembre 2013.

Juha Saarinen, « GUEST POST: The History of Jihadism in Finland and An Early Assessment of Finnish Foreign Fighters in Syria », Jihadology.net, 21 novembre 2013.

Pieter Van Ostaeyen, « Belgian Jihadis in Syria », Jihadology.net, 5 septembre 2013.

Mairbek Vatchagaev, « Chechens Among the Syrian Rebels: Small in Number, but Influential », Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 10 Issue: 223, The Jamestown Foundation, 12 décembre 2013.

Zia Ur Rehman, « Pakistani Fighters Joining the War in Syria », CTC Sentinel, Volume 6 Issue 9, septembre 2013, p.9-11.

Mohannad Sabry, « Al-Qaeda emerges amid Egypt’s turmoil », Al-Monitor, 4 décembre 2013.

Vish Sakthivel, « Weathering Morocco's Syria Returnees », PolicyWatch 2148, The Washington Institute, 25 septembre 2013.

Benjamin Weinthal, « The German jihadists' colony in Syria », The Long War Journal, 19 décembre 2013.

Mark Youngman, « The North Caucasus Insurgency’s Syrian Balancing Act », Jihadology.net, 7 septembre 2013.

Andrew Zammit, « Tracking Australian Foreign Fighters in Syria », CTC Sentinel, Volume 6 Issue 11-12, novembre 2013, p.5-9.

Jacob Zenn, « Increasing Numbers of Central Asian Jihadists in Syria », The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 2 octobre 2013.

Aaron Y. Zelin, « CSR Insight: European Foreign Fighters in Syria », The International Centre for the Study of Radicalization, 2 avril 2013.

Aaron Y. Zelin, Sami David, « Up to 11,000 foreign fighters in Syria; steep rise among Western Europeans », The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, 17 décembre 2013.

Aaron Y. Zelin, « Foreign Jihadists in Syria: Tracking Recruitment Networks », Policy Watch 2186, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 19 décembre 2013.

1Sura 8, verse 39 of the Qur'an.
2Read the interview with Tom Cooper, I conducted on this subject: http://lautrecotedelacolline.blogspot.fr/2013/12/la-guerre-civile-syrienne-interview-de.html
3Aaron Y. Zelin, « CSR Insight: European Foreign Fighters in Syria », The International Centre for the Study of Radicalization, April 2nd, 2013.
4http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/radikale-islamisten-staffellaeufer-des-heiligen-kriegs-1.1845410 Thanks to Florent de Saint Victor for providing me the link in question.
5Aaron Y. Zelin, Sami David, « Up to 11,000 foreign fighters in Syria; steep rise among Western Europeans », The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, December 17th, 2013.
6Aron Lund, « Who Are the Foreign Fighters in Syria? An Interview With Aaron Y. Zelin », Carnegie Middle East Center/Guide to Syria in Crisis, December 5th, 2013.
7Zia Ur Rehman, « Pakistani Fighters Joining the War in Syria », CTC Sentinel, Volume 6 Issue 9, September 2013, p.9-11.
8Suha Philip Ma’ayeh, « Jordanian Jihadists Active in Syria », CTC Sentinel, Volume 6 Issue 10, October 2013, p.10-13.
9Aaron Y. Zelin, Sami David, « Up to 11,000 foreign fighters in Syria; steep rise among Western Europeans », The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, December 17th, 2013.
10Mona Alami, « The Jordanian Connection », NOW., December 19th 2013.
11Raffaello Pantucci, « British Fighters Joining the War in Syria », CTC Sentinel, Volume 6 Issue 2, Februar 2013, p.11-15.
12Shiraz Maher, « ICSR Insight: British Foreign Fighters in Syria », The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, October 15th 2013.
13Juha Saarinen, « GUEST POST: The History of Jihadism in Finland and An Early Assessment of Finnish Foreign Fighters in Syria », Jihadology.net, November 21st 2013.
14Andrew Zammit, « Tracking Australian Foreign Fighters in Syria », CTC Sentinel, Volume 6 Issue 11-12, November 2013, p.5-9.
15Per Gudmundson, « The Swedish Foreign Fighter Contingent in Syria », CTC Sentinel, Volume 6 Issue 9, September 2013, p.5-9.
16Mairbek Vatchagaev, « Chechens Among the Syrian Rebels: Small in Number, but Influential », Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 10 Issue: 223, The Jamestown Foundation, December 12th 2013.
17Mark Youngman, « The North Caucasus Insurgency’s Syrian Balancing Act », Jihadology.net, 7 septembre 2013.
18Benjamin Weinthal, « The German jihadists' colony in Syria », The Long War Journal, 19 décembre 2013.
19Jacob Zenn, « Increasing Numbers of Central Asian Jihadists in Syria », The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, October 2nd 2013.
20North Caucasus Caucus, « Turkish Fighters in Syria, Online and Off », Jihadology.net, August 20th 2013.
21Pieter Van Ostaeyen, « Belgian Jihadis in Syria », Jihadology.net, September 5th 2013.
22Fernando Reinares et Carola García-Calvo, «  Jihadists from Spain in Syria: facts and figures », Elcano Royal Institute, 12 décembre 2013.
23Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, « Musings of an Iraqi Brasenostril on Jihad: Muhajireen Battalions in Syria », Jihadology.net, December 13th 2013.
27Vish Sakthivel, « Weathering Morocco's Syria Returnees », PolicyWatch 2148, The Washington Institute, September 25th 2013.
28Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, « EXCLUSIVE: Moroccan ex-Guantánamo Detainee Mohammed Mizouz Identified In Syria », Syria Comment, December 22nd 2013.
29Zelin, « Foreign Jihadists in Syria: Tracking Recruitment Networks », Policy Watch 2186, The Washington Institute, December 19th 2013.
30Thomas Hegghamer, Syria's Foreign Fighters, Middle East Channel, Foreign Policy. Thank you Stéphane Taillat for giving me this article.

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