More than 20,000 volunteers from around the world, including some Americans, have traveled to Syria to join the ISIL militant group and other extremist groups, US intelligence officials say.
Foreign militants from over 90 countries, including at least 3,400 people from Western states and more than 150 Americans, have travelled to Syria to join terrorist groups there, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) said in its latest estimate on Tuesday.
“The rate of foreign fighter travel to Syria is unprecedented. It exceeds the rate of travelers who went to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, or Somalia at any point in the last 20 years,” said NCTC director Nicholas Rasmussen.
A majority of the militants have joined the ISIL terrorist group in Syria and Iraq, the NCTC added.
Western governments have also grown increasingly concerned over the threat of radicalized militants returning from Syria and Iraq.
“The battlefields in Iraq and Syria provide foreign fighters with combat experience, weapons and explosives training, and access to terrorist networks that may be planning attacks which target the West,” Rasmussen added.
ISIL terrorists control some parts of Syria and Iraq. They are engaged in crimes against humanity in the areas under their control. ISIL has terrorized and killed people of all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians.
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