Belgian Syrian fighters database totals around 100 women
Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Two Belgians were arrested in an unknown location in Belgium last week under suspicion of funding the Islamic State in Turkey and Syria. Credit: Belga.
For the moment, the new Belgian database of foreign terrorist fighters numbers 104 women out of a total of 614 individuals. One individual in six listed is aged around twenty. The youngest is 15 and the oldest 70.
Around two dozen fighters have been implicated in these attacks, the online publication Knack states today (Wednesday). The periodical indicates having had access to this database.
Two individuals in three on the database are probably in Syria and Iraq – so-called Islamic State – IS (266), four are en route to these countries, 114 have probably returned and 73 have probably tried to leave IS.
Moreover, 157 individuals are currently suspected of contemplating leaving for Syria or Iraq. Out of 614 fighters, 109 have died in the meantime but have not been removed from the database, as their death has not yet been officially recorded.
The very first Belgian to leave was Nabil Kasmi, who left permanently for the region in 2012. That year, some twelve people per month were attempting to leave, as in 2013.
The following year (2014), 11 left per month, and a total of six per month last year. Records indicate that nobody has taken the journey this year.
Nearly half of the individuals registered were Belgian, of whom more than half are of Moroccan origin. Moreover, 22 other nationalities have been recorded.
Numbering 39, Moroccans prove to be the most numerous, followed by Russians (25), French (16) and Algerians (13).
According to the boss of OCAM (the Coordinating Unit for Threat Analysis), Paul Van Tigchelt, around twenty of these fighters have been implicated in a given attack.
Seven of these appear to have been involved in the Paris and Brussels attacks, in particular, Bilal Hadfi, Salah Abdeslam and Mohamed Abrini (the so-called “man in the hat”).