European Union leaders are making moves to close the door on immigrants after more than 72,000 people entered the EU illegally in 2012, including a fivefold rise in Syrians, to 8,000.
Reuters has published a map of showing westward migration routes of Syrian asylum seekers that indicates two worsening problems for Europe.
First, the number of Syrian asylum applicants to the EU spiked from to 2011 to 2012 — and more are coming as the war drags on into its third year and Syria’s neighbours become overcrowded.
About 3.2 million Syrians will be registered as refugees by the end of 2013, and that figure rising to more than 5.2 million next year as 120,000 Syrians who seek shelter in neighbouring countries every month.
Second, a new report by jihadist expert Aaron Zelin states that there are up to 1,937 fighters from Western Europe in Syria.
There has been a surge of fighters since the August 21 chemical attack by Syria’s government, and Zelin notes that “the basic attraction of going to Syria will remain” as the sectarian conflict continues.
Western Europeans now represent up to 18 per cent of the foreign fighter population in Syria, with most recruits coming from France (63-412), Britain (43-366), Germany, (34-240), Belgium (76-296), and the Netherlands (29-152).
As the war grinds on, Syria’s destruction will be increasingly felt in Europe as Syrians — and battle-tested European fighters — head toward Europe.
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