Washington Wants UN Action on Foreign Terrorist Fighters
The United States is hoping for unanimous approval of a UN resolution calling for global action against the growing phenomenon of foreigners traveling to fight for terrorist groups, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said Wednesday, according to The Associated Press (AP).
Power told reporters that foreign fighters like those in Iraq and Syria participate in "brutal atrocities" and often return home radicalized by their experiences, "posing threats of the most profound kind to their fellow citizens."
She added that the resolution the U.S. is drafting is aimed at strengthening the ability of governments to curb the flow of their citizens to war zones. It calls for improved information and intelligence sharing, and will also underscore the importance of countering violent extremism through programs that would give would-be fighters alternatives to violence, she said.
Many have sounded the warning bell over the dangers of foreign Islamic State (IS) terrorists returning to their home countries to carry out attacks; just last Friday England raised its terrorism alert to the second-highest level.
A U.S. official said last month that an estimated 12,000 foreign terrorist fighters have taken up arms in Syria and Iraq, according to AP.
The Security Council responded to the growing terrorist threat in the two countries by unanimously adopting a resolution on August 15 imposing sanctions on six men from the Islamic State group and the Al-Qaeda-linked group Al-Nusra Front for recruiting or financing foreign fighters, and threatened additional sanctions.
If approved, Power said the resolution the U.S. is currently drafting would be the first focusing on foreign terrorist fighters.
She said there is consensus in the council about "the gravity of the threat" and the fact that the repercussions can touch any country.
If the resolution is approved, "a huge amount of hard work" will be required by countries to curb the flow of fighters, tackle their financing and counter violent extremism, Power said, according to AP.
In February it was estimated that at least 50 U.S. citizens are fighting in Syria, and are liable to bring terrorism back to their home country once the war is over.
There are also Russians, Germans, Canadians and French citizens taking part in the fighting in Syria.
Last week it was reported that that 33-year-old Douglas McCain, who had lived in Southern California and Minnesota, died in a battle between the Islamic State and other Syrian opposition groups.
A day later it was reported that another American was killed while fighting alongside jihadists in Syria.