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Where Syria & Iraq’s Foreign Fighters Come From

isis fighters

The United States and its allies have carried out at least 5, 000 airstrikes against the so-called Islamic State since August 2014. While the campaign has proved effective in halting the terror group’s territorial gains, it has not stopped the flow of foreign fighters into the region. In 2012, there were an estimated 3, 500 foreign militants in Syria and Iraq, a number that grew to over 25, 000 in 2015. Tunisia is the largest origin country, followed by Saudi Arabia and Jordan.


Facts and statistics on Terrorism

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A growing issue worldwide, terrorism, has caused around 130, 000 fatalities worldwide between 2006 and 2013. Terrorism can be described as the wrongful use of violence in order to intimidate civilians or politicians for ideological, religious, or political reasons with no regard for public safety.

Although the number of terrorist attacks from 2006 to 2013 has decreased, there have been approximately 90, 000 total terrorist attacks in this time period. The number of terrorist attacks was distressingly high during the early 2000’s due to the terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda on the United States and the wars in the Middle East during this time period.

In the past year, the country with the most terrorist attacks was Iraq, followed by Pakistan and Afghanistan. Altogether, the number of terrorist attacks in these countries amounted to around 7, 400 attacks.

The high number of attacks becomes of greater relevance due to the fact that these three countries amount to the double of the combined attacks in the other seven nations in the top ten countries with the most terrorist attacks in the past year. Despite having been the country with the most terrorist attacks in 2013, there were more fatalities due to terrorist attacks in Afghanistan in 2011 than in Iraq.

The most notorious group for carrying out such terrorist attacks is Al-Qaeda. In 14 different terrorist attacks in 14 countries throughout the world, the combined death toll was over 4, 000 deaths. From a global point of view, the region in the world with the highest number of terrorist attacks in recent years was the Near East and South Asia.

The number of terrorist attacks in this region in 2011 amounted to almost 8, 000 attacks. The number of terrorist attacks in this region is more than the triple of the attacks in Africa, Europe and Eurasia, East Asia and Pacific and Western Hemisphere combined. Despite not being the most common type of attack in acts of terrorism in recent years, the greatest number of deaths comes from bombing-related types of terrorist attacks with the primary targets being civilians and police.

Not only does terrorism have a massive social impact on the world, but it also has a tremendous global economic impact. The costs of terrorist attacks by insured property losses have cost the insurance industry billions over the past decade. The bombing of the London financial district in 1993 cost the insurance industry around 1 billion U.S. dollars.


This chart shows the estimated number of foreign fighters in Iraq/Syria from selected countries in 2015.

Infographic: Where Syria & Iraq's Foreign Fighters Come From | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista



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