Syria Has More Jihadis than Afghanistan Ever Did – Thomas Hegghammer (Foreign Policy)
There are now over 5,000 Sunni foreign fighters in Syria, including more than a thousand from the West.
The 1980s Afghanistan war never attracted more than 3,000 to 4,000 foreign fighters at any one time.
Why is Syria attracting so many war volunteers? The short answer is that it’s easy to get there.
A Syrian who smuggles travelers into Syria explained:
“For example, someone comes from Tunisia. He flies to the international airport [in Turkey] wearing jihadiclothes and a jihadibeard and he has jihadisongs on his mobile…. If the Turkish government wants to prevent them coming into the country, it would do so, but they don’t.”