Thursday, October 30, 2014

Airstrikes against the Islamic State have not affected flow of foreign fighters to Syria

By Greg Miller October 30 at 1:25 PM WashPost

More than 1,000 foreign fighters are streaming into Syria each month, a rate that has so far been unchanged by airstrikes against the Islamic State and efforts by other countries to stem the flow of departures, according to U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials.

The magnitude of the ongoing migration suggests that the U.S.-led air campaign has neither deterred significant numbers of militants from traveling to the region nor triggered a spike in the rate of travel among Muslim populations inflamed by American intervention.

“The flow of fighters making their way to Syria remains constant, so the overall number continues to rise,” a U.S. intelligence official said. U.S. officials cautioned, however, that there is a lag in the intelligence being examined by the CIA and other spy agencies, meaning it could be weeks before a change becomes apparent.

The trend line established over the past year would mean that the total number of foreign fighters in Syria has already exceeded 16,000, a pace eclipsing that of any other comparable conflict in recent decades, including the 1980s war in Afghanistan.

(More here.)

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