Only five Belgian fighters in Iraq and Syria returned to Belgium in 2017
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    Only five Belgian fighters in Iraq and Syria returned to Belgium in 2017

    © Belga
    Jan Jambon is aware that although the security services fear a large return of fighters from war zones, this has not happened and may not, in all likelihood, occur in the near future.
    © Belga

    Last year, according to data going through to November 15th, 2017, taken as an average barely five Belgian fighters in Syria and Iraq actually came back to Belgium. Some of them had already been imprisoned in Turkey since 2016. This information has come from the Minister of the Interior, Jan Jambon (New Flemish Alliance).

    Although the security services fear a large return of fighters from war zones, this has not happened and may not, in all likelihood, take place in the near future. OCAM, the coordinating body for terror threat analysis, says that more than 150 Belgian fighters could well soon return from Syria or Iraq. However, generally this scenario is viewed as extremely improbable.

    Jambon indicates, “For now, we are only seeing a trickle of people returning.” He further states that returns in the near future are “impossible to predict.” Last year, a specific cell made up of police and intelligence service officials was created by Belgium in Turkey to intercept all Belgian fighters. Up to now, it has only dealt with 7 cases.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times