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Morocco Should Brace for Return of Hundreds of IS Foreign Fighters- Report

Morocco Should Brace for Return of Hundreds of IS Foreign Fighters- Report


The setbacks suffered by IS in the Syrian and Iraqi fronts are pushing thousands of foreign fighters to return to their home-countries where they pose a serious risk to stability and security.

Morocco is one of the countries with a significant number of foreign fighters in the Middle East whose return puts authorities on high alert.

A report by the security and intelligence consultancy AICS estimates the number of foreign fighters who may return to Morocco at 900 individuals.

The report notes that Morocco is one of the largest foreign fighter emitting countries with the number of individuals joining terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq estimated at 1800.

This number is not far from the estimates of Morocco’s interior ministry, which puts the number of Moroccan foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq at 1699, including 929 fighting for IS, of whom 596 died in the battleground.

While acknowledging the role of Morocco’s religious model in averting mass radicalization, the report warns of the dangers posed by battle hardened extremists on Morocco’s security and stability.

This zero tolerance policy on returning terrorists has prevented many foreign fighters from coming back to Morocco. So far about 230 foreign fighters returned to the Kingdom most of them in jail.

In January 2015, the anti-terrorism law of 2003 was amended in order to criminalize joining groups outside Morocco.