Syria is becoming a new example of a phenomenon that has become known as “jihad terrorism:” the influx of foreign Muslims to Muslim-affiliated wars in order to take part, waging jihad against the enemy of the moment, in this case the Syrian government and their Hezbollah and Iranian backers.
Jihad tourism is nothing new. The most obvious modern example would be the Soviet-Afghan War, when Muslims from all over the Middle East went to Afghanistan to fight with the Mujahideen. Osama Bin Laden is probably the most famous jihad tourist, having traveled from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. He provided a great deal of money and support, but reportedly saw little combat, retiring to Pakistan to run training camps after being wounded in the foot.
SOFREP has already reported on foreign fighters in Syria, specifically the Jaysh al Muhajireen wal Ansar, led by Omar al Chechen. (Omar al Chechen was reportedly killed a few weeks ago, but has since appeared in a video message disproving the claim.)
It was reported in August that at least 100 Canadians had left for Syria to fight in the jihad. Meanwhile, record numbers of Britons are traveling to jihad warfronts, prompting the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to open talks with Ireland, France, Denmark, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, and the Netherlands to try to find a way to prevent “jihad tourism.” The fear is that their citizens, having become battle-hardened jihadis in Syria, will return to conduct Islamist terrorist attacks on their home soil. Canada has also passed the “Combating Terrorism Act” in April that makes it a crime to leave Canada for the purpose of engaging in terrorist activities.