(JNS.org) There are between 6,000 and 7,000 foreign jihadists fighting in the Syrian civil war, according to a report released Thursday by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Tel Aviv.
The report said that the two main jihadist factions in Syria are the al-Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra), which is a branch of al-Qaeda in Syria under the command of Ayman al-Zawahiri, and its main competitor, the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria. These groups have a combined membership of about 9,000, with an estimated 6,000-7,000 foreign fighters.
Roughly 4,500 of the foreign jihadists come from the Arab world, while another 1,000 or so are from Western Europe and about 500 from Asia. There are also a small number of Israeli Arabs fighting in Syria, between 15 and 20, the report says.
The report warned that these terror groups could eventually use Syria as a base to create terror networks in Europe and elsewhere.
“It is sufficient for al-Qaida and global jihad organizations to create a network of skilled manpower in order to carry out terrorist attacks, as happened after the war in Afghanistan,” said the report.