According to Kosovo prosecutors, an ethnic Albanian have been charged with joining extremist terror groups in Syria. The man, a Kosovo citizen identified only as R.D., had gone to Turkey last month and tried to cross into Syria to join military organizations there.
At Kosovo’s request, Turkish authorities arrested him and extradited him back to Kosovo earlier this month. The defendant is accused of joining or taking part in extremist military groups and in military conflicts outside the country, charges that may bring him up to 15 years’ imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the United Nations is urging authorities in Kosovo to have a clear strategy to deter potential fighters from joining Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq and to offer more employment possibilities and education.
An independent U.N.-commissioned report examined returned foreign fighters and the reasons that Kosovars joined extremist groups. It also urged Kosovo and international bodies to develop better policies to prevent violent extremism.
Available statistics, unfortunately, are spotty but still, 335 citizens have traveled to or been caught by Kosovo police en route to conflict zones in Syria and Iraq since 2012, making Kosovo one of Europe’s largest exporters of foreign fighters on per capita basis. They included 253 were men, 55 women, and 27 children.
The would-be fighters usually traveled through Turkey to Syria, where they joined ISIS, Jabhat Al-Nusrah, Ahrar Al-Sham or the Free Syrian Army terror groups.
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