The Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS) presented a report to the parliament in Ottowa on Monday detailing the security threats posed to Canada. Prime among the dangers was listed the phenomenon of Canadians traveling to Syria and other Arab countries to join Al Qaeda-linked groups.
If these traveling Canadians "participate in a foreign conflict or train with a terrorist group, they might return with certain operational skills that can be deployed themselves or taught to fellow Canadian extremists. Either way, this is a serious security threat to Canada," notes the report.
Michel Coulombe, Director of CSIS, reported that in the recent years the intelligence agency has dealt with a rising number of attempts by foreign intelligence agents to obtain sensitive information concerning fields such as aviation, biotechnology, chemicals, communications, nuclear energy and oil.
The threat is much more complex than in the past according to Coulombe, as it is much easier to steal thousands of documents. This point was highlighted recently by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked massive amounts of secret documents.
In addition to the danger of information theft, Coulombe warned about dozens of Canadians who have left for Syria and other Arab countries to take part in terror-related groups. It is feared that these individuals will return to Canada with the experience and knowledge to carry out terror attacks.
There have been several reports of Canadian citizens being killed while fighting for jihadist forces in Syria.
Last November it was reported that the Canadian citizen Abu Abd Al-Rahman had been killed earlier in the year during clashes in the city of Aleppo.
Just last Sunday Islamist sources in Syria reported that two Canadian Christians who converted to Islam died fighting for Al Qaeda-linked groups. One was killed by the Free Syrian Army during an internal power struggle among rebels in Aleppo, while the other was killed in a battle for an Aleppo airport.
CSIS's fears are borne out by reports that foreign nationals are being trained in Syria by Al Qaeda to carry out attacks in their home countries.