The figures are more or less the same since 2011 according to Jaak Raes, chief of the Belgian interior intelligence service. The interior minister Jan Jambon declined to comment. Raes has questioned Jambon’s optimism concerning the declining number of fighters leaving Belgium for Syria.
The ministry of justice is responsible for the intelligence service, Sûreté de l’État.
“There is talk about a permanent dynamic,” said Jaak Raes in front of students in Antwerp. “I know that the interior minister Jan Jambon has claimed in media that the trend is going down, but I have to disappoint him. If we look at the longer term, from 2011 until now, the dynamic is more or less the same. “
Asked on Wednesday (4 May) in the parliament, Jan Jambon did not wish to comment on the remarks.
“My figures were provided by the coordination unit for threat analysis (OCAM) and are based on information from seven intelligence services, including Sûreté de l’État and the federal police. It appears that there were 12 departures per month on average in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and that the number decreased to six in 2015.”
Jambon did not mention how many of these jihadists might have returned to Belgium and are hiding in the country.
The Brussels Times (Source: Belga)