Preventing the movement of foreign terrorist fighters.

The Global Coalition is committed to tackling the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters travelling to the region to join Daesh or travelling from Daesh-held territories to other countries. The Counter-Daesh Coalition Working Group on Foreign Terrorist Fighters, co-led by the Netherlands, Turkey and the United States, is working with Coalition partners to implement the obligations and recommendations set out in UN Security Council Resolution 2178, passed in September 2014. This resolution requires countries to take steps to counter foreign terrorist fighters, expanding current obligations under international law and strengthening international measures that prevent suspected foreign terrorist fighters from travelling, that disrupt financial support to foreign terrorist fighters, and that further strengthen international and regional co-operation mechanisms.

Preventing the flow of foreign fighters has been a major part of our effort to defeat Daesh over the past three years. We have seen the following progress:

  • More than 69 countries have laws to prosecute and penalise foreign terrorist fighter activities (for instance, the act of traveling outside one’s country to join terrorist organisations).
  • At least 70 countries have prosecuted or arrested foreign terrorist fighters or their facilitators.
  • More than 60 countries, plus the UN, have contributed over 180,000 foreign terrorist fighter profiles to INTERPOL. Strengthening this shared resource empowers global law enforcement authorities to identify and disrupt foreign terrorist transit networks.
  • At least 31 countries use enhanced traveller screening measures.

More broadly governments have strengthened information sharing, border security, legal frameworks, and prosecutions, and adopted national CVE strategies. Following Daesh defeats, we have also exploited information found on the battlefield to better understand its networks and techniques, including the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to and from Syria and Iraq.

As many as 15% of the total number of foreign terrorist fighters who have travelled to Syria and Iraq are from Europe.

The most recent estimates of Daesh’ fighting force, which is months old, is around 12,000 – 15,000, less than half of the high end estimate of 33,000 fighters in 2014. With Daesh’s battlefield losses, it is now likely to be lower.

The Coalition will continue to work together with global partners to enhance information sharing, border security, legislative measures, and counter violent extremism and counter-messaging efforts.