The conflicts in Syria and Iraq have attracted over 40,000 foreign fighters, who have travelled to these countries to join the ranks of the so-called Islamic State (IS) and other armed groups.
Although accurate figures are not available, it is estimated that at least 5,000 jihadist foreign fighters came from Europe. Over 1,500 have already returned home, while at least 1,000 might still be in Syria and Iraq. These jihadist travelers include not only male adults, often with combat experience, but also women and children, with different backgrounds and motivations.
The extent of the threat and the measures to deal with foreign fighters vary greatly across Europe; both, however, gain even more relevance today, with the Middle East witnessing a new wave of instability and confrontation among political and military players.
Recognizing the importance of these differences, this ISPI Dossier aims to provide a thorough and updated overview of the foreign fighter threat in ten European countries or regions, ranging from Finland to the Western Balkans.