A new study published by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague says about a third of the Europeans who left for Syria or Iraq as foreign fighters have returned to their home countries.
As reported by Dutch News online, the findings are based on information provided by government ministries, intelligence services and other government agencies from 23 EU member states.
Specifically, the report says almost 600 European jihadists died in Syria and Iraq. This is 14% of the total 3,900 to 4,300. And 90% of the total come from residential areas in bigger cities. “This seems to indicate that there are already existing (extremist) networks in these areas, that a circle of friends radicalises as a group and decides to leave together or recruits those friends remaining at home while already in conflict zones,’ the report says. In the Netherlands, ‘there is a notable cluster of Dutch foreign fighters stemming from The Hague, but also other towns, such as Delft, Zoetermeer, Gouda and Arnhem,” the report said. The majority of Dutch jihadis have lower or lower middle class socio economic backgrounds, low to medium levels of education and limited chances on the labour market, the report said. Many have also been exposed to crime and drug abuse, according to Dutch News online.