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Belgian Fighters in Syria and Iraq – A Closer Look at the Converts

May 11, 2017

By Pieter Van Ostaeyen

Translations: Русский

By Guy Van Vlierden and Pieter Van Ostaeyen

Belgian fighters in Syria & Iraq – a closer look at the converts

 

Since the latest update in December of last year[1], 28 individuals were added to our database of Belgian fighters in the current Syrian-Iraqi conflict. That brings our estimate to 591 people, including relatives who did not leave to fight themselves. 40 of these Belgian foreign fighters are converts to Islam, with a remarkably high share of autochthonous women.

 

On a total number of 591 people from Belgium who at least have tried to join an armed group in Syria/Iraq during the current conflict (including Belgians, people who resided in Belgium and/or were recruited by Belgian networks), 40 are certainly or very likely converts. That’s almost 7%.

This share is significantly lower than in some of the surrounding countries. In Germany, converts represent 12% of all foreign terrorist fighters, while in France their share amounts to 23%.[2] We don’t have a solid explanation for the lower Belgian number, but the importance of the Zerkani network in the Belgian recruitment may be at play. That network consisted almost exclusively of people from North African descent, and thereby had very few converts in its ranks.

18 of the 40 Belgian converts have a fully European background — of whom 11 fully Belgian. 10 are children of a mixed marriage between a European and a non-European parent, 5 have fully non-European backgrounds, and 2 were adopted. For the remaining 5, we do not know. Foreign backgrounds include Italy (6), France (5), Congo (5), Algeria (1), Brazil (1), Haiti (1), Ivory Coast (1), Lebanon (1), Mali (1), Nigeria (1), the Philippines (1), Rwanda (1) and South Africa (1). Please note that one individual can have multiple foreign backgrounds.

26 of the converts are male, and 14 female. With 35% of the converts, the share of women is remarkably high. On the total number of Belgian foreign fighters, they only represent 15%. That may be at least partly caused by a higher number of females converting to Islam overall in Belgium. But while that overrepresentation of women is often cited, the exact proportions are not known apparently.[3]

Moreover, there appears to be a significant difference between both sexes in terms of ethnic background. While 75% of the males has some kind of non-European roots (due to mixed marriages or adoption), that is the case for only 8% of the females — and while females only count for 35% of our total number of converts, they do represent 82% of all those with a fully Belgian background.

Our sample may be too small for solid conclusions, but the impression exists that identity issues resulting from a multi-ethnic background (that doesn’t necessarily includes Islam already) are less important as a driver of conversion and radicalization for women than for men. It is noteworthy that a study of converted foreign fighters from Belgium and the Netherlands found that almost all the women were driven by very personal problems — i.e. not related to an ethnic, cultural or religious background — while the situation of the men was much more diverse.[4]

Definition of Belgian fighters

Altogether, we do estimate the number of Belgian foreign fighters in the current Syrian-Iraqi conflict at 591 now, defining them as follows:

1) every person of Belgian origin, foreign origin but living in Belgium for a significant time, or clearly recruited by an entity operating from Belgium and departed to the conflict zone via Belgian soil;

2) having at least physically tried to reach the war zone of the Syrian-Iraqi conflict that started in March 2011;

3) with a clear intention to join a local fighting party there, be it as a fighter themselves or in any other role.

While it has to be stressed that this definition is broader than Sunni Islamists, actually 582 (or 98% of all our records) can be considered as such.[5]

Highlights of our current estimates

First of all we have to emphasize that adding individuals to our database doesn’t say anything about the phenomenon’s evolution in time. Such additions are rarely people who have recently left, but much more often older cases newly known to us.

That said, our current estimate includes 259 people in the ranks of the Islamic State — 69.4% of all 373 records for which an exact affiliation is known. The Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate formerly known as Jabhat an-Nusra, remains the second most important group with 50 people or 13.4%.

531 people have reached the battle zone — a rate of 89.8%. 42 or 7.1% were stopped abroad and 18 or 3% in Belgium. We do have information about 158 people who returned, including those who left but never reached their goal.

118 people were reportedly killed — 109 in the war zone and 9 others after their to Europe to commit a terrorist attack. It has to be stressed that most of the deaths could not be verified, and examples are known of fighters faking their death to lure security services.

That could for instance be the case with Redwane Hajaoui, considered dead last year by the mayor of his hometown Verviers.[6] Very recently, a wanted notice allegedly issued by France started circulating on the internet, indicating that Hajaoui might be alive and may be plotting an attack. But as long as the authenticity of that notice isn’t established, we keep him on our list.

 

Addendum:

List of Belgian foreign fighters reportedly killed

 

  1. Julian André Harinton, aka Abu Abdullah al-Belgiki, convert from Antwerp who most likely joined the Free Syrian Army and was killed in April 2012

 

  1. Hamdi Mahmoud Saad, a Syrian living in Brussels who joined the Free Syrian Army and was killed in Latakia governorate in August 2012

 

  1. Rustam Gelayev, son of Chechen warlord Ruslan Gelayev who lived a while in Belgium, killed in Aleppo governorate in August 2012

 

  1. Soufiane Chioua, Brussels recruit of Denis & Zerkani networks who left in October 2012, joinedMajlis Shura al-Mujahideen and was killed at an unkown date

 

  1. Bilal Zinati, recruit of the Denis network who left in December 2012, joined Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen and was killed at an unknown date

 

  1. Sean Pidgeon, a convert from Brussels recruited by the Denis & Zerkani networks, killed in Aleppo governorate in March 2013

 

  1. Anonymous fighter from Mechelen, killed before April 2013 according to an imam who assisted his family

 

  1. Anonymous fighter from Vilvoorde whose death was announced in April 2013. He was barely eightteen years old and got killed by a sniper two weeks after his arrival in Syria

 

  1. Ahmed Stevenberg, the alias of an unidentified fighter of Jabhat an-Nusra, killed by the Syrian army in the Latakia governorate in April 2013

 

  1. Raphaël Gendron, aka Abdurauf Abu Marwa, a Frenchman raised in Brussels, killed in the ranks of Suqur as-Sham in April 2013

 

  1. Tarik Taketloune, aka Abu Khattab, figher from Vilvoorde who was recruited by Shariah4Belgium and joined Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen, killed in May 2013

 

  1. Saïd Amrani, Denis recruit from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg who was killed in May 2013

 

  1. Ismail Amgroud, a fighter from Maaseik who joined Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen and was killed in June 2013

 

  1. Noureddine Abouallal, aka Abu Mujahid, a leader of Shariah4Belgium who joined Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen and was killed in July 2013

 

  1. Younis Asad Rahman, the alias of a fighter also known as Asad ar-Rahman al-Belgiki, killed in August 2013 in Latakia governorate

 

  1. Abu Salma al-Belgiki, anonymous fighter killed in August 2013 in Deir ez-Zor governorate

 

  1. Younes Kharbache, Denis recruit from Brussels and brother of Hamza Kharbache. Joined Islamic State and was killed in August 2013 in Damascus governorate

 

  1. Ahmed Daoudi, aka Abu Mochsin, Shariah4Belgium recruit who joined Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen, but reportedly soon switched to a hospital job. Was active as a medical worker during the Al Ghouta chemical attack in August 2013, went missing shortly afterwards and was reported dead

 

  1. Abdel Rahman Ayachi, aka Abu Hajjar, son of the Brussels-Syrian cheikh Bassam Ayachi, killed in the ranks of Suqur as-Sham in September 2013

 

  1. Abdelgabar Hamdaoui, a Shariah4Belgium recruit fighting for Jabhat an-Nusra, killed in September 2013

 

  1. Ahmed Dihaj, aka Abu Ateeq, a leading figure within Shariah4Belgium, who left early in 2013 to join Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen and was killed in the ranks of the Islamic State in September 2013

 

  1. Houssien Elouassaki, aka Abu Fallujah, Shariah4Belgium recruit who became the emir of the foreign chapter within Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen. Switched side to Jabhat an-Nusra and was killed in September 2013

 

  1. Mohamed Bali, aka Abu Hudayfa, Shariah4Belgium recruit coming from Antwerp, killed in the ranks of the Islamic State in September 2013

 

  1. Abdelmonhim R’ha, Sunni Islamist fighter from Antwerp, reportedly a relative of former Belgian Guantánamo detainee Moussa Zemmouri. Killed in September 2013

 

  1. Ibrahim El Harchi, aka Abu Ali, a recruit of Jean-Louis Denis fighting for Islamic State, killed in mid December 2013 during clashes with Ahrar as-Sham in Idlib governorate

 

  1. Sabri Refla, aka Abu Tourab, Denis recruit from Vilvoorde, who subsequently joined Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen and the Islamic State. Committed suicide attack in Iraq in December 2013

 

  1. Abu al-Baraa al-Belgiki, an anonymous fighter of Algerian descent, who served as emir for Islamic State in the Syrian town of Saraqib and was killed there in January 2014

 

  1. Ouafae Sarrar, aka Umm Djarrah, wife of Shariah4Belgium recruit and Islamic State fighter Ilyass Boughalab. Reportedly killed around January 2014

 

  1. Abdelmonaïm Lachiri, aka Abu Sara, recruit of the Zerkani network and a son of its ‘pasionaria’ Fatima Aberkan, killed in the ranks of Jabhat an-Nusra in February 2014

 

  1. Feisal Yamoun, aka Abu Faris, a leader of Shariah4Belgium who left with wife and three young kids, killed in February 2014

 

  1. Hamza Kharbache, Denis recruit from Brussels and brother of Younes Kharbache, who joined the Islamic State and was killed in February 2014 in Aleppo governorate

 

  1. Brahim Labrak, Denis recruit from Brussels with French roots, who joined Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen, switched to Islamic State and was killed in February 2014

 

  1. Nabil Ajraoui, Denis recruit who left as a minor in November 2013 and was killed in February 2014

 

  1. Ilyass Boughalab, aka Abu Djarrah, Shariah4Belgium recruit killed in March 2014 and mentioned afterwards as a member of Islamic State’s elite brigade Katibat al-Battar

 

  1. Yoni Mayne, aka Abu Dujana al-Mali, Zerkani recruit from Brussels with Belgian father and Malinese mother, killed near ar-Raqqah in March 2014 and mentioned afterwards as member of Islamic State’s elite brigade Katibat al-Battar

 

  1. Saïd El Morabit, aka Abu Muthanna, Shariah4Belgium recruit from Antwerp, killed between ar-Raqqah and Hasakah in March 2014 and mentioned afterwards as member of Islamic State’s elite brigade Katibat al-Battar

 

  1. Abdelilah Jab-Allah, aka Abu Omar, Brussels recruit of Denis & Zerkani networks. Joined Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen and was killed in March 2014

 

  1. Karim Mahrach, aka Abu Azzam, recruit of Jean-Louis Denis from Brussels, killed in the ranks of the Islamic State in April 2014

 

  1. Mohamed Said Haddad, Zerkani recruit from Brussels and brother of the Verviers terrorist plot member Abdelmounaim Haddad. Killed in April 2014

 

  1. Khalid Bali, aka Abu Hamza, brother of Mohamed Bali, killed in the ranks of the Islamic State in May 2014 at the age of seventeen

 

  1. Khalid Hachti Bernan, aka Abu Mehdi/Abu Qa’qa, member of Islamic State’s elite brigade Katibat al-Battar, originally from Virton, who was killed in May 2014

 

  1. Nabil Azahaf, aka Abu Sayyaf, Shariah4Belgium recruit from Vilvoorde who became a member of Islamic State’s elite brigade Katibat al-Battar and was killed in May 2014

 

  1. Abu Handalah, anonymous Jabhat an-Nusra fighter who appeared in the video ‘Turning Point’ and was killed in May 2014 near Aleppo

 

  1. Yassine El Karouni, aka Abu Osama, Shariah4Belgium recruit coming from the Netherlands, but living in Antwerp. Joined Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen and was killed in May 2014

 

  1. Kiéran Luce, aka Abu al-Qada al-Faransi, recruit of Denis network coming from the French-Caribbean island of Martinique. Joined Islamic State and committed suicide attack in northern Iraq in May 2014

 

  1. Iliass Azaouaj, an imam from Brussels who left to get Belgian fighters back home, then joined Islamic State himself, but was executed on suspicion of being a spy around July 2014

 

  1. Anonymous Belgian fighter killed in July 2014 in al-Keshkeyyi, Deir ez-Zor governorate

 

  1. Adem Ben Amro, aka Abu Obayda at-Tunisi, Tunisian who lived as refugee in Antwerp, joined the Islamic State in July 2014 and committed a suicide attack in Kobanê at an unknown date

 

  1. Souleymane Abrini, Zerkani recruit and brother of Paris & Brussels attacks accomplice Mohamed Abrini. Joined the Islamic State and was killed in August 2014

 

  1. Abu Jihad al-Belgiki, anonymous Islamic State fighter, killed in battle for airport in Deir ez-Zor governorate in August 2014

 

  1. Zakaria El Bouzaidi, best friend of Sean Pidgeon, who was recruited together with him by the Denis & Zerkani networks. Killed in September 2014

 

  1. Abu Mohsen at-Tunisi, anonymous Belgian fighter of Tunisian descent, fighting for Islamic State and killed in September 2014 during a battle near the airport of Deir ez-Zor

 

  1. Abu Adnan al-Belgiki, anonymous fighter of Algerian descent who switched from Jabhat an-Nusra to Islamic State at the end of 2013 and was killed in September 2014

 

  1. Abu Mohamed al-Belgiki, anonymous fighter killed in October 2014 in Deir ez-Zor governorate

 

  1. Abu Umar al-Belgiki, anonymous fighter of Saudi descent, killed in the ranks of Jabhat an-Nusra in October 2014 in Latakia governorate

 

  1. Abu Yahya al-Belgiki, anonymous member of Islamic State’s elite brigade Katibat al-Battar, killed in October 2014

 

  1. Abu Umar al-Belgiki, anonymous fighter mentioned on a list of deaths of Islamic State’s elite brigade Katibat al-Battar, published in October 2014[7]. It was later confirmed that this kunya doesn’t refer to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who faked his own death around the same time

 

  1. Abu Sulayman al-Belgiki, anonymous Islamic State fighter of Maghribian descent, killed in Kobanê in November 2014

 

  1. Bilal Barrani, aka Abu Said, Zerkani recruit of French origin who was living in Brussels, joined Islamic State and was killed in December 2014

 

  1. Khongr Pavlovitch Matsakov, Sunni Islamist fighter from Ostend with roots in the Russian republic of Kalmykia, killed in January 2015

 

  1. Abu Taymiyya al-Belgiki, anonymous Islamic State fighter killed in Kobanê in January 2015

 

  1. Khalid Ben Larbi, aka Abu Zoubeyr, Islamic State fighter from Brussels who was killed during a police operation in Verviers (Belgium) on January 15, 2015

 

  1. Soufiane Amghar, aka Abu Khalid, Islamic State fighter from Brussels who was killed during a police operation in Verviers (Belgium) on January 15, 2015

 

  1. Anis Bouzzaouit, aka Abu Ibrahim, a Zerkani recruit who entered the Islamic State’s elite brigade Katibat al-Battar and was killed in February 2015 in Deir ez-Zor governorate

 

  1. Fahd Asamghi, aka Abu Sabir, Shariah4Belgium recruit from Antwerp who subsequently fought for Jaysh al-Muhajirin wa’l Ansar and Jabhat Ansar al-Din. Killed in March 2015

 

  1. Younes Bakkouy, aka Abu Aziz, Islamic State fighter from Genk who left with two brothers, one of whom (and most likely him) was reportedly killed in March 2015 near Tikrit in Iraq

 

  1. Abu Bakr al-Belgiki, anonymous Islamic State fighter from Brussels who committed suicide attack in Ramadi (Iraq) on March 11, 2015

 

  1. Mesut Cankurtaran, aka Abu Abdullah al-Belgiki. Islamic State fighter from Vilvoorde, recruited by Shariah4Belgium and the Denis network. Killed in March 2015 in battle for airport in Deir ez-Zor governorate

 

  1. Karim Kadir, aka Abu Abdullah al-Belgiki. Islamic State fighter from Charleroi, who committed a suicide attack at the Iraqi-Jordan border on April 24, 2015

 

  1. Abu Tourab al-Belgiki, anonymous Sunni Islamist fighter from Brussels killed in May 2015 in Damascus governorate

 

  1. Abu Handala al-Belgiki, anonymous Sunni Islamist fighter killed in May 2015

 

  1. Abu Muhammad Belgiki, anonymous Islamic State fighter with roots in France and Cameroon. Military instructor within elite brigade of IS in Damascus & Homs governorates and reportedly killed in battle of Sokhna in May 2015

 

  1. Abu Muslim al-Belgiki. Anonymous Islamic State fighter from Antwerp. His death was announced in June 2015, but reportedly happened around a year earlier

 

  1. Sami Ladri, aka Abu Waliya, Zerkani recruit from Brussels who joined the Islamic State and committed suicide attack near an-Nukhayba (Iraq) on June 22, 2015

 

  1. Fayssal Oussaih, aka Abu Shaheed, Islamic State fighter from Maaseik, killed in July 2015

 

  1. Abu Iliace al-Belgiki, anonymous Islamic State fighter whose death was announced by an Islamic State source in ar-Raqqah in July 2015

 

  1. Mossi Junior Juma, teenager from Brussels with roots in Burundi, said to be taken to Syria by his mother and killed in July 2015 at the age of sixteen

 

  1. Lucas Van Hessche, aka Abu Ibrahim, convert from Menen with roots in Haiti, joined Islamic State and was killed in August 2015 in Hasakah governorate

 

  1. Sahil Ahmed, aka Abu Mariyya al-Belgiki, fighter from Ghent, apparently of Indian descent. Joined Islamic State and was reportedly killed during his very first battle in August 2015

 

  1. Abu Ayman al-Belgiki, anonymous Islamic State fighter, killed by British drone strike in ar-Raqqah in August 2015

 

  1. Brian De Mulder, aka Abu Qasim al-Brazili, convert from Antwerp with Belgian father and Brazilian mother, recruited by Shariah4Belgium. Died in October 2015 of wounds sustained by an air strike three weeks earlier

 

  1. Mohammed Hajji, Islamic State fighter from Antwerp, killed by an air strike in ar-Raqqah in October 2015

 

  1. Abu Abdullah al-Belgiki, anonymous Islamic State figher, killed in October 2015 by a French air strike on a training camp near ar-Raqqah

 

  1. Abdelmalek Boutalliss, aka Abu Nusaybah, Islamic State fighter from Kortrijk who committed a suicide attack near Haditha (Iraq) on November 11, 2015

 

  1. Andy Bizala Lubanza, Zerkani recruit from Brussels with Congolese & Rwandese roots, joined The Islamic State and was killed in November 2015

 

  1. Anonymous, Belgian wife of Islamic State emir ‘Abu Khabab’ from Saudi Arabia, killed with her husband in November 2015 in Deir ez-Zor

 

  1. Bilal Hadfi, aka Abu Mujahid al-Faransi, Islamic State fighter of French origin living in Brussels, who committed a suicide attack in Paris (France) on November 13, 2015

 

  1. Ibrahim Abdeslam, aka Abu Qa’qa al-Belgiki, Islamic State fighter of French origin living Brussels, who committed a suicide attack in Paris (France) on November 13, 2015

 

  1. Abdelhamid Abaaoud, aka Abu Omar al-Belgiki, Zerkani recruit from Brussels, who joined The Islamic State’s elite brigade Katibat al-Battar and was killed on November 18, 2015 during a police operation in Saint-Denis (France) linked to the Paris attacks

 

  1. Chakib Akrouh, aka Dhul-Qarnayn al-Belgiki, Zerkani recruit from Brussels, who joined The Islamic State and was killed on November 18, 2015 during police operation in Saint-Denis (France) linked to the Paris attacks

 

  1. Mohammed Jattari, Sunni Islamist fighter from Tienen, killed at unknown date in 2015

 

  1. Younes Ahllal, aka Abu Taymiyah al-Belgiki. Zerkani recruit from Brussels, killed in the ranks of The Islamic State in January 2016

 

  1. Anonymous Belgian fighter killed in the ranks of the Islamic State in Deir ez-Zor governorate on January 20, 2016

 

  1. Abu Umar al-Belgiki, anonymous Islamic State fighter, killed in al-Hawiqa near Deir ez-Zor on January 30, 2016

 

  1. Umm Shérazade al-Belgiki, anonymous woman from Brussels who joined The Islamic State and was reportedly executed for witchcraft in February 2016

 

  1. Anonymous Belgian fighter in the ranks of The Islamic State, reportedly executed for treason in Deir ez-Zor in February 2016

 

  1. Salahuddin al-Belgiki, anonymous Islamic State fighter, who was killed as an important battle commander in Deir ez-Zor governorate in March 2016

 

  1. Mohamed Aziz Belkaïd, aka Abu Abdulaziz al-Jazairi, Islamic State fighter of Swedish/Algerian descent who was killed on March 15, 2016 during a police operation in Forest (Belgium) linked to the Paris attacks

 

  1. Najim Laachraoui, aka Abu Idriss, Brussels recruit of the Denis & Zerkani networks, who joined The Islamic State and committed a suicide attack at Brussels Airport (Belgium) on March 22, 2016

 

  1. Ibrahim El Bakraoui, Islamic State fighter from Brussels who was stopped on his way to Syria, but committed suicide attack at Brussels Airport (Belgium) on March 22, 2016

 

  1. Abou Souleyman Belgiki, anonymous fighter from Brussels, who switched side from The Islamic State to Jabhat an-Nusra and was killed near Idlib in April 2016, reportedly by an American drone

 

  1. Abu Anas al-Belgiki, anonymous Islamic State fighter, killed near Mosul (Iraq) in April 2016

 

  1. Abu Dawoud al-Belgiki, anonymous fighter with Jabhat an-Nusra, identified as deputy emir of its foreign fighters in August 2013. Killed by an air strike in May 2016, targeting a meeting of Jabhat an-Nusra leadership at Abu Adh Dhuhur air base in Idlib governorate

 

  1. Abu Abdilah al-Belgiki, anonymous Jabhat an-Nusra fighter of Maghribian origin, killed in June 2016 by a tank attack of the Syrian army near Aleppo

 

  1. Anonymous Belgian fighter, killed as Islamic State commander in a battle near Deir ez-Zor in July 2016

 

  1. Redwane Hajaoui, aka Abu Khalid Al Maghrib, fighter from Verviers who appeared in Islamic State video threatening Belgium and France and 2015, reported death in August 2016

 

  1. Anonymous Belgian fighter from the city of Verviers, killed at unknown date according to a declaration of the Verviers mayor in August 2016

 

  1. Zakaria Asbai, aka Abu Zubair, Islamic State fighter from Vilvoorde whose death at undisclosed time and location was reported in August 2016

 

  1. Abu Miqdad al-Belgiki, anonymous Islamic State fighter, killed in battle near Deir ez-Zor in August 2016

 

  1. Lotfi Aoumeur, aka Abu Noor al-Jazairi/Abdullah al-Belgiki/Abu Anwar al-Belgiki. Fighter from Verviers who appeared in IS video threatening Belgium and France in 2015. Committed a suicide attack in Qarrayah (Iraq) on August 9, 2016

 

  1. Anonymous Belgian fighter, said to be a leading figure in the media department of IS and killed on August 24, 2016 by an air strike in Qaim according to local media

 

  1. Abu Abdallah al-Belgiki, anonymous fighter reportedly killed in the ranks of Jabhat Fath as-Sham, the former Jabhat an-Nusra, near Hama on September 29, 2016

 

  1. Abu Omar al-Belgiki, anonymous fighter reportedly killed in the ranks of Jabhat Fath as-Sham , the former Jabhat an-Nusra, in November 2016

 

  1. Hicham Naji, aka Abu Mehdi, Shariah4Belgium recruit from Antwerp who was reportedly killed in Islamic State ranks in November 2016

 

  1. Sammy Djedou, aka Abu Musab al-Baljiki, an early Zerkani recruit who was reportedly involved in the planning of the 2015 Paris attacks. Killed by a coalition drone strike in ar-Raqqah at December 4, 2016

 

  1. Abu Umar al-Belgiki, anonymous Islamic State fighter reportedly killed on January 15, 2017 in al-Andalus neighborhood of Mosul

 

  1. Zacharia Iddoub, aka Abu Yahya Beljiki, Islamic State fighter from Vilvoorde reportedly killed by an air strike on January 17, 2017 at an undisclosed location

 

  1. Mohamed Abdel Rahman, aka Abu Hashim. Belgian of Algerian descent killed by a coalition air strike in al-Tanak near Mosul on March 28, 2017 according to the Iraqi Ministery of Defense. Reportedly a senior leader overseeing the recruitment of fighters for IS

[1]    Guy Van Vlierden & Pieter Van Ostaeyen, Belgian Fighters in Syria and Iraq – An Update of Our Data, pietervanostaeyen.com, 7 December 2016, https://pietervanostaeyen.com/2016/12/07/belgian-fighters-in-syria-iraq-december-2016/

[2]    Bibi van Ginkel and Eva Entenmann (Eds.), The Foreign Fighters Phenomenon in the European Union. Profiles, Threats & Policies, The Hague, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, 2016, http://icct.nl/publication/report-the-foreign-fighters-phenomenon-in-the-eu-profiles-threats-policies/

[3]    Ann Peuteman & Ewald Pironet, “In het begin ben je tot over je oren verliefd op de islam”, Knack, 27 January 2016, http://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/bekeerd-tot-de-islam-waarom-vlaamse-vrouwen-moslim-worden/article-longread-650859.html

[4]    Marion van San, Lost Souls Searching for Answers? Belgian and Dutch Converts Joining the Islamic State, Perspectives on Terrorism, Volume 9, N°5 (2015), http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php/pot/article/view/460

[5]    For more details about our methods and data, please see the most recent update mentioned above and the previous one at https://pietervanostaeyen.com/2016/08/03/belgian-fighters-in-syria-and-iraq-an-important-review-of-our-data/

[6]    Trois djihadistes verviétois tués au Moyen Orient, La Meuse, 12 August 2016, http://www.lameuse.be/1643707/article/2016-08-11/trois-vervietois-sont-presumes-morts-en-combattant-pour-l-etat-islamique

[7]    https://pietervanostaeyen.com/2015/01/21/katibat-al-battar-and-the-belgian-fighters-in-syria/

Pieter Van Ostaeyen

Historian, Arabist and Islamicist working as an independent researcher. Focus on Jihad in Syria and Iraq, Jabhat an-Nusra, ISIS and foreign fighters.

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2 Comments

  1. mart the fart

    “Lost Souls Searching for Answers?”

    A comparison might be made with the Waffen SS. Were they “Lost Souls Searching for Answers”. Yes, they too were lost souls until they found their answers, their trajectory and what they wanted to achieve, and achieve it they did until stopped, not by books but by arms, then by hanging after judgment at Nuremberg. They had gone too far.

    Reply

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