Fighters from Bosnia Taking Part in Conflicts in Syria and Iraq

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, April 14, 2018 – At least 76 nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including women and children, have been killed in war zones in Syria and Iraq in the last few years, and 16 of those who have returned to the country are currently serving prison terms, local media said on Friday.

Citing data from the Bosnian security services, the news website says that 67 men have been killed fighting alongside various extremist groups in Syria and Iraq, as well as five women and at least four children. The women and children were taken to Syria by their husbands and fathers who decided to join terrorist organisations such as Islamic State (IS).

Another five people can be added to this number. They were born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but left for Syria and Iraq using passports of the countries where they took up residence after leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina. published the names of all the persons whom the police and the Intelligence and Security Agency (OSA) claim were killed in Syria and Iraq. Among them is 17-year-old Ahmed Laidi who was killed last year in Raqqa, the capital of the self-styled terrorist caliphate. The other three children, presumably killed in Syria, have not been identified, but the information available indicates that two of them were killed in an air raid on a house in which their family lived.

According to information from Bosnian security agencies, about 260 nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina are still in war zones in Syria and Iraq, and 46 have returned to the country. Those who returned have been subjected to criminal prosecution; six have already served out the prison sentences imposed on them, while 16 are serving prison terms.

The Banja Luka-based newspaper Nezavisne Novine carried a warning that no one in the country actually knows if anyone is working with the convicts and whether those who have been released from prison are still a security threat. “What happens when they come out? Six of them have served out their sentences and returned to their home towns which may be susceptible to radicalisation and which may have led them to decide to fight abroad in the first place,” said Maja Gasal-Vražalica, a member of the lower house of parliament.

Gasal-Vražalica pointed out that Bosnia and Herzegovina did not have a clear strategy for prevention of radicalisation. The parliamentary commission on human rights, of which she is a member, has therefore decided to request a meeting with the convicts to see how they are being treated and what steps the government should take to ensure their full integration into society.


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