The reason “the rate of foreign fighter travel to Syria is unprecedented” is because the Islamic State has proclaimed the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, with the first Caliph (leader of the Caliphate) with actual political and military power. This is a very desirable idea to radical Muslims around the world.
“Rates of travel of foreign jihadists is ‘unprecedented,’ officials say; 3,400 are from West, 150 are US citizens.”
AFP (Feb 11) — Foreign fighters are flocking to Syria at an “unprecedented” rate, with more than 20,000 volunteers from around the world joining the Islamic State or other extremist groups, US intelligence officials said Tuesday.
The foreign fighters have traveled to Syria from more than 90 countries, including at least 3,400 from Western states and more than 150 Americans, according to the latest estimate from the National Counter-Terrorism Center.
A majority of the foreign volunteers who arrived recently have joined forces with the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, it said.
No precise numbers are available “but the trend lines are clear and concerning,” Nicholas Rasmussen, NCTC director, said in prepared remarks for a congressional hearing on Wednesday.
“The rate of foreign fighter travel to Syria is unprecedented. It exceeds the rate of travelers who went to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, or Somalia at any point in the last 20 years,” he said.
“The battlefields in Iraq and Syria provide foreign fighters with combat experience, weapons and explosives training, and access to terrorist networks that may be planning attacks which target the West,” he said.
Western governments have voiced increasing alarm over the flow of foreign volunteers heading to the Syrian conflict, particularly in the aftermath of jihadist attacks in Paris that left 17 dead.