DAMASCUS – Over 30,000 militants from across the world have traveled to Syria and Iraq over the past four years to join the ranks of radical groups in Syria and Iraq.
The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) said in a report on Tuesday that at least 8,000 European nationals have joined the jihadi group in Syria and Iraq since 2011.
The majority of the foreign militants are fighting alongside the extremist group of Islamic State (ISIS), while some have joined other radical groups such as Syria’s al-Qaeda branch of al-Nusra Front.
The IEP’s report, based on estimates of the Global Terrorism Index, also revealed that about 15,000 militants who have joined the conflicts in Syria and Iraq came from neighboring Arab countries and North Africa.
According to the report, about 7,000 of the entire figure traveled to Iraq and Syria in the first six months of 2015.
The IEP emphasized on Tuesday that the influx of foreign jihadists into Syria and Iraq does not appear to be diminishing.
The report also calculated the number of lives claimed across the world by terrorist activities, saying 32,658 people were killed last year, which shows an 80-percent increase compared to 2013. It said the total economic cost of these terror attacks reached an all-time high of USD 52.9 billion in 2014.
The statistics come amid a heated international debate about the rising threat of terrorism emanating from Syria, as the November 13 attacks in Paris, which were claimed by the ISIS terror group, killed over 130.
Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi
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