Indonesian extremists joined thousands of foreign militants fighting the Syrian government, a report said on Friday.
The report said the Indonesian militants have traveled to Syria to help extremist groups trying to create an Islamic state there.
The report by the Institute for Indonesian militants joining the fight in SyriaPolicy Analysis of Conflict, based in Jakarta, said that the Syrian conflict, approaching its third anniversary in March, had “captured the imagination of Indonesian extremists in a way no foreign war has before.”
“The enthusiasm for Syria is directly linked to predictions in Islamic eschatology that the final battle at the end of time will take place in Sham, the region sometimes called Greater Syria or the Levant, encompassing Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel,” the report said.
Sidney Jones, the institute’s director, said the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, based on information from the Syrian government, estimated that at least 50 Indonesians had traveled to Syria via Turkey to take up arms since 2012. While she emphasized that the figure was “a guesstimate,” the report warned that the numbers could increase.
As many as 11,000 foreign fighters have poured into Syria by way of the Middle East and North Africa. The fighters include radicalized young Muslims with Western passports from Europe, North America and Australia.
Ms. Jones said Indonesian fighters could easily fly on commercial airlines to Turkey, where Ahrar al-Sham, one of the extremist groups fighting the Syrian government, helped them cross the border into Syria. Some Indonesian extremists have also been linking up with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a hard-line group linked to Al Qaeda, she said.
“There are two main concerns for Indonesia,” Ms. Jones said. “One is the return of foreign fighters and what that could mean to providing leadership to the very weak and incompetent jihadi movement here.”
“Second, the process of raising funds for Syria could strengthen the resource base of groups in Indonesia, such as Jemaah Islamiyah,” she said, referring to the Southeast Asian terrorist network linked to Al Qaeda.
So know which nationality or from which country militants didn’t come to fight in Syria …maybe its time for polar bears to come to Syria.