Belgium largest source of foreign fighters

Reuters: French, Germans and Britons make up the highest number of foreign fighters in the Syrian rebel ranks from European countries, but Belgium is the largest contributor in proportion to its population, an Hague-based International Centre for Counter-Terrorism study shows. Returned foreign fighters have been involved in attacks in Paris and Brussels over the past 18 months.

  • France 1700
  • Germany 760
  • UK 760
  • Belgium 470
  • Sweden 300

(Source: Soufan Group)

In total, up to 4,294 Europeans had gone to fight in Syria, of whom 30 percent had since returned and 14 percent were confirmed dead. The totals showed big differences across Europe, with Belgium, home to the attackers in both last year’s Paris shootings and last month’s Brussels bombings, sending 41 fighters per million population. Not only did Belgium contribute the most fighters compared to its population, but only 18 percent of them had returned, compared to 50 percent of those who had left from Denmark.