There was national outrage over the 300 Swedish jihadists in Syria and Iraq — but no one wants to draw attention to the fact that they fought side by side with groups accused of terrorism that had received foreign aid from Sweden, writes Patrik Paulov in the Morning Star daily.
In April 2013, six years before cries started emerging against Swedish ISIS fighters, Paulov interviewed Abbess Agnes Mariam, working in the Homs province in Syria.
She sharply criticized the Western world that encouraged and supported the war on Syria. She knew very well about the fighters from foreign countries and their crimes and she even warned: “You do know that there is a battalion from Sweden among the so-called “rebels”?
“There is also a battalion from France and one from Belgium and many other countries. What do you think will happen when they leave Syria and go home? Will they be able to just be normal citizens and return to their old lives?”
A similar warning came from Bashar Said, a translator in Damascus, also in 2013.
“These so-called ‘fighters for democracy’ have been supported by the West’s intelligence services ever since Afghanistan in 1979, being used against governments and people who disobey them. However, the snake will bite the hand that feeds it…”
The fact that Swedes were present in Syria and participated in the battles on the side of the armed terrorist groups was already known by autumn 2012.
In November, a group calling itself the Swedish Mujahedeen Fi Asham published a video on Youtube to recruit people. In the video, they spoke Swedish and called for Swedish Muslims to travel to Syria. They said it was a religious duty to participate in the battle against the Syrian state.
The Swedish news agency TT reported on November 26 2012 that the Swedish Security Service (Sapo) was worried about travellers from Sweden to Syria where they might commit acts of terrorism or war crimes, and even prepare for attacks in Sweden.
If the media had spoken to some of the millions of Syrians that were victims of the armed groups’ assaults and terror, they would have had another picture of reality.
The stream of travellers from Sweden to terrorist organisations in Syria and Iraq had begun early. According to the Swedish Security Service, a total of 300 people had travelled there from 2012 to 2019. When ISIS began to lose its territory toward the end of 2015, the number of travellers decreased dramatically.
Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism researcher at the Swedish Defence University, together with Linus Gustafsson published a report in June 2017 called Swedish Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq. They had studied classified material concerning 267 of the Swedish terrorist travellers that are known by Sapo.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.