IBNA Special Report
Skopje, January 28, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Naser Pajaziti
Only 12 nationals from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are fighting in Syria and Iraq in the ranks of ISIS.
This is announced by the International Center for the Study Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR), in a report issued on the participation of foreign nationals in this region’s conflict.
According to the published report, the largest number of fighters from the Balkan are from Bosnia and Herzegovina with 330 fighters, 100-150 from Kosovo, 50-70 from Serbia and 90 from Albania.
Islamic Community in FYROM says that the number of participants from this country is higher than the number announced by ICSR. One of the spokesman of this institution, Abaz Islami declared for IBNA that the figures are higher.
“Based on our information, the number of Macedonia’s nationals in this conflict is higher, but so far, there are no accurate figures. We are soon hoping on implementing a project to prevent participation in these conflicts and the reintegration of those participants back into society”, declared Islami.
Ministry of Interior says that there are no accurate figures in relation to the participation of its citizens in this conflict.
“We cannot issue a figure, because nobody has such figures. The figures that have been launched have been secured through exchanged information, however, nobody can provide an accurate figure”, declared a while ago the minister of Interior, Gordana Jankulovska.
Even religious NGOs in FYROM do not have information on the accurate number of citizens fighting in Syria and Iraq.
Expert for security issues, Blagoja Markoski says that the participation of FYROM’s nationals in this conflict is higher.
“According to the data that I posses, there are another 20 people from Macedonia who are fighting in the East. Meanwhile, so far, 12 of our nationals have lost their life in these fights”, says Blagoja Markovski. According to him, around five thousand citizens from West Balkan are participating in this conflict.
State authorities have strengthened measures for the prevention of the participation of FYROM’s nationals in this conflict. At the end of last year, a law was voted in order to convict every participant in these conflicts with up to five years in prison. Higher sentences are given for the organizers and recruiters of these fighters.
These measures have had a positive effect in avoiding massive appeals or different propaganda materials in different Islamic circles to participate in the war in Syria and Iraq. /ibna/