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30k Foreign Militants Active In Syria, Iraq: UN Official

By | Last updated: Jul 14, 2016 - 5:19:05 PM

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A United Nations official says approximately 30,000 foreign terrorists are operating in Syria and Iraq, warning that the militants, who have suffered heavy losses on the battlefield, pose threats to their home countries upon their return.

Jean-Paul Laborde, UN assistant secretary general and executive director of the world body’s Counter-Terrorism Committee, released the figure during a July 5 press conference in the Swiss city of Geneva.

Mr. Laborde said the number of foreign terrorists in conflict-ridden Syria and Iraq, where the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group maintains its stronghold, is “very high.”

“There are nearly 30,000, and now that the territory held by Daesh is shrinking in Iraq, we are seeing them return, not only to Europe but to all of their countries of origin, like Tunisia, Morocco,” Mr. Laborde said.

Jean-Paul Laborde, Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), briefs journalists on the third report on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2178 on States affected by foreign terrorist fighters, Feb. 26, at the United Nations in New York.
He also expressed concern that the terror attacks in the militants’ countries of origin “risk getting bigger and bigger to counter-balance the pressure on them” on the ground in Syria and Iraq.

The UN official further highlighted the need for states to put in place a “filter system to distinguish” between the returning foreign militants.

Elsewhere in his comments, Mr. Laborde called on countries to share more information faster, noting that otherwise, “We will continue to see a growing number of terrorist acts.

He also emphasized that the international community was in possession of the judicial tools to fight against terrorism, but warned that “the adaptability and flexibility of terrorist organizations are much faster than ours.”

Additionally, the official urged more cooperation with internet giants like Google, Twitter and Microsoft to help keep tabs on potential terrorists online, adding that this process must be done without “violating freedom of expression.”

The Daesh militants have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, such as public decapitations and crucifixions, against all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians in areas they have overrun.

The Takfiri elements have suffered major setbacks over the past few months as the Syrian and Iraqi army forces have managed to liberate a number of areas from the grip of the extremists. (