Western Jihadists in Syria Pose a Growing, Long-Term Problem

Thousands of Westerners Fighting in Syria

Western nations were quick to embrace the Syrian Civil War as a chance for regime change, but with an estimated 3,000 jihadists with passports from Western nations now fighting in Syria, most for al-Qaeda faction, the war is increasingly shaping up to be the West’s problem, and one that will linger long beyond the war itself.

Experts and analysts have been pointing out for quite some time that these people are going to return home with passports and citizenship that get them access to places most al-Qaeda fighters can’t, and with contacts to militant leaders that, but for Syria, they never could’ve forged.

It’s starting to become a visible problem, with the arrest today of the confessed attacker of the Jewish museum in Brussels a French citizen who had just come back from Syria, having fought with al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) there.

Earlier in the wake, a US citizen named Abu Muhajir was reported to have carried out a suicide bombing in Syria for another al-Qaeda faction, Jabhat al-Nusra. He’s one of many potential suicide bombers recruited from the US, and is playing a major role in al-Qaeda recruitment efforts.

But while the US bomber attacked inside Syria, as the war eventually winds down many more such fighters will be moving on, likely to targets in the West.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.