The Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) in its analysis entitled “Western Balkans Foreign Fighters and Homegrown Jihadis: Trends and Implications” reports that since 2012, about 1,070 citizens of Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia, Albania, Serbia and Montenegro travelled to Syria and Iraq, primarily joining the Islamic State, and to a lesser extent al-Qaeda (Jabhat al Nusra, more recently rebranded as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham – HTS).
Of these, most were adult males. Most of the men left Kosovo. About 500 people are still in conflict zones.
The Western Balkans is currently the region with the highest concentration of returnees in Europe, with Kosovo leading.
Kosovo also leads in the successful prosecution of returnees from Syria and Iraq. However, because of the relatively mild sentences (in Kosovo, the average sentence in terrorism cases is 3.5 years), about 40 percent of those convicted of terrorist acts in Kosovo in recent years have already been released from prison.
The last active presence of jihadists from the region in Syria is the ethnically Albanian fighting unit Xhemati Alban, whose fighters are mostly from Kosovo and northern Macedonia.
Full analysis available at: https://bit.ly/2KoslhM