Fewer Scandinavians joining Syria’s holy war

Lucie Rychla
July 25th, 2016

This article is more than 7 years old.

The risk of being killed in the conflict has significantly increased, says expert

The number of Scandinavian fighters joining the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars is on the decline, report the intelligence services in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

“One of the explanations is that in the beginning of the conflict it was mostly the easy pickings – the unemployed and those at odds with the law – who were recruited,” Magnus Ranstorp, a Swedish terrorism expert from the National Defence College, told DR.

“People have also become increasingly aware of how brutal the war is.”

READ MORE: At least 135 Danes have left the country for Syria and Iraq

Too dangerous
According to the April estimates of the Danish national security agency PET, some 135 Danes have left Denmark for Syria and Iraq to join militant Islamist groups since the civil war erupted in 2011.

The Swedish security service Säpo and the Norwegian intelligence service NIS have also reported the number of jihadists among their nationals has been falling.

In Sweden, the number more than halved in 2015, states a report released in June.

Carsten Bagge Laustsen, an associate professor at Aarhus University and an expert on terrorism, argues that it has become more difficult for the Islamic State to recruit new foreign fighters because the risk of being killed in the conflict has significantly increased.


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