Citizens from FYROM still fighting in Syria and Iraq

Citizens from FYROM still fighting in Syria and Iraq

Skopje, 4 October 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

Law enforcement agencies in FYROM admit that many citizens of this country are participating in fights taking place in Syria and Iraq as part of the Islamic State. Minister of Interior, Oliver Spasovski said that the repatriation of these people could pose a threat for security. According to him, more will be done for their reintegration.

“We have people who have returned from Syria in the country. However, you know that we had to arrest several people who posed a threat for security. Radicalization of people from Macedonia and the region poses a certain threat”, minister Spasovski said.

Military analyst, Blagoja Markovski says that those who have returned from the Middle East, where conflicts are taking place, pose a real threat, because they bring the idealogy of the Islamic State.

“Their return in the Republic of Macedonia is a violation of the Criminal Code, due to their participation in foreign military structures. What’s more, these people who return, bring with them ISIS’ ideology. This is why there’s a real threat for them to manifest this ideology in Macedonia too, by forming groups, which may be involved in terrorist acts”, says Blagoja Markovski, who is head of the Institute for Security in the Balkans.

As far as refugees crossing Macedonia to reach Western European countries are concerned, Markovski doesn’t see any threats.

The Ministry of Interior doesn’t have official figures as to how many people from FYROM fight in Syria. Expert on security affairs, Zlatko Keskovski says that there are over 150 citizens from FYROM involved in conflicts taking place in Iraq and Syria, while as far as the Balkans is concerned, there are around 1700 people.

In the operation name coded “Cell”, the Ministry of Interior raided several homes in Tetovo, Skopje and other cities, leading to the arrest of 11 people. /