Central Asian militants return home from Syria, pose threat

Staff Report

DAMASCUS -- The recent return home of defeated Central Asian militants from Syria and Iraq could threaten their homelands, Deutsche Welle reported July 6, citing various analysts.

Radicalised foreign fighters in recent months have been returning home from the Middle East in greater numbers than before, UN Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman said in a report to the UN Security Council in June. He attributed the exodus to defeats that the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) was suffering in Syria and Iraq.

Analysts quoted by Deutsche Welle had different opinions of the danger that returning Central Asian militants could mean for their homelands. The majority of those militants treated the insurgency as a job and decided to go home when the pay became unreliable, Andrei Serenko, a foreign specialist on Afghanistan, said.

However, another foreign specialist, Lev Korolkov, was more pessimistic about the character of the Central Asian militants. Central Asians were part of the ISIL unit that recently created a rear-echelon base in Libya, he said, adding, "Some of the [Central Asians] have returned to the Central Asian countries. By no means do all of them want to embrace a peaceful life."

Korolkov noted the capture of three Kyrgyz ex-militants in Batken Province in June. Those three veterans of the Syrian insurgency are accused of plotting terrorist acts in Kyrgyzstan.

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