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“Iraq and Syria are finishing schools for foreign extremists”

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Published on April 03, 2015 with No Comments

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives pushed through a motion on enlarging the mission in a vote 142 to 129, despite opposition parties’ objections. “Our government believes that we must act to protect Canadians against the threat of terrorism at home and abroad,” he said. Canada first joined the U.S.-led airstrikes on the ISIS group in November. Its expanded air campaign was authorized until March 30, 2016. Harper has defended the need for sorties into Syria, saying the ISIS group “must cease to have any safe haven in Syria.”
Iraq and Syria have become “international finishing schools” for extremists according to a UN report which says the number of foreign fighters joining terrorist groups has spiked to more than 25,000 from more than 100 countries.
The panel of experts monitoring UN sanctions against al-Qaida estimates the number of overseas terrorist fighters worldwide increased by 71% between mid-2014 and March 2015.
It said the scale of the problem had increased over the past three years and the flow of foreign fighters was “higher than it has ever been historically”.
The overall number of foreign terrorist fighters has “risen sharply from a few thousand,a decade ago to more than 25,000 today,” the panel said in its report to the UN security council, which was obtained by Associated Press.
The report said just two countries had drawn more than 20,000 foreign fighters: Syria and Iraq. They went to fight primarily for the Islamic State group but also the al-Nusra Front.
The number of countries the fighters come from has also risen dramatically from a small group in the 1990s to more than 100 today — more than half the countries in the world — including some that have never had previous links with groups associated with al-Qaida, the panel said.
It cited the “high number” of foreign fighters from Tunisia, Morocco, France and Russia, the increase in fighters from the Maldives, Finland and Trinidad and Tobago, and the first fighters from some countries in sub-Saharan Africa which it did not name. The groups had also found recruits from Britain and Australia.
The panel said the fighters and their networks posed “an immediate and long-term threat” and “an urgent global security problem” that needed to be tackled on many fronts and had no easy solution.

 

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