Belgium, is providing more recruits, per capita than any other country in Europe, for the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in Syria and Iraq, the United Nations reports.
“The number of Belgian foreign fighters is reportedly the highest in Europe per capita among those traveling to join conflicts abroad such as in Syria and Iraq,” said Elzbieta Karska, human rights expert and head of the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, as cited in a report released by the UN on Friday.
The report was based on a five-day assessment of the terrorist group’s recruit threat in Belgium and shows that since 2010, over 500 recruits have traveled to the conflict zones abroad to fight alongside militants of the terror group.
During their stay in Belgium, from 12 to 16 October, Karska and her fellow expert Patricia Arias “received information that there are some 207 Belgians in Syria, 77 casualties, 128 returnees, and 62 persons who failed to get to Iraq or have been brought back. Of these, 46 foreign fighters have been prosecuted.”
The report further said that the recruitment occurs through informal networks of friends and family and through social media, with contacts in Syria paid on the basis of the number of persons they recruit. The profiles of the recruits show that they have an average age of around 23 and less.
“Women are also increasingly leaving,” Karska added.
As for motivation, Karska explained that an array of motivational factors was involved. Religious convictions, humanitarian reasons, the need for a sense of belonging and acceptance, searching for a livelihood, escaping a criminal background and seeking adventure, have been identified as the most common reasons to join Takfiri terrorist groups.
Karska also said that “recruiters were paid from two, three thousand to 10,000 dollars depending on… who was recruited.”
The UN Group has called on Brussels to develop an “inclusive national vision and action on the issue of foreign fighters at federal, regional and local levels.”
Daesh has committed gruesome crimes and terrorized members of various communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians during their onslaught in Iraq and Syria.
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