As the fight against terrorism caused by the Islamic State intensifies the EU issued a strong warning today about preparing for the returning Jihadists.
The EU security commissioner Julian King, said that even a small number of ‘Jihadists’ returning from the war zone could be cause for worry and concern. The statement comes as the advancement towards the removal of IS fighters from their stronghold the Iraqi city of Mosul begins.
Iraqi security forces, Kurdish fighters, tribal fighters and Shia and Sunni Muslim fighters are planning to attack Mosul to take it back from the reported 5000 IS fighters that have stayed in the city.
The armies have managed to free around 10 villages surrounding Mosul and now will try to take back the city. The Minster for Defence of France, Jean-Yeve Le Dria said while the size of the army exceeded the size of the fighters left in the city, since there were also 1.5 million civilians in the city the fight to liberate Mosul could take a long time, even months.
The EU’s warning comes on the basis of the fact that around 2500 fighters active in the war zone are EU citizens. Last November’s attack in Paris which was carried out by IS militants included some EU citizens who had recently returned from the war zone in Syria.
The commissioner, Mr. King maintained that the chances of there being a ‘mass exodus’ of IS fighters to EU territories were slim and that only a few fighters would return. He however did not want to downplay the risks that even a small number presented.
The situation in Mosul has been reported as calm. Phone lines were connected again in the city recently and hundreds of messages informing about the movement of IS fighters throughout the neighbourhoods of the city have been sent out. The citizens remain optimistic about the possibility of liberation but nervousness has been spreading regarding the coming conflict.
The city of Mosul was Iraq’s second largest city when IS conquered it in 2014. The city is rich in oil, and saw IS establishing itself as a power after controlling the city. It is here that IS declared a ‘caliphate’ in parts of Iraq and Syria. Winning Mosul would drive IS back to a few northern territories they have left.
The Red Cross and UN have appealed to the Humanity of all factions and are preparing medical and refugee camps in anticipation of the coming war. As many as 200,000 people would have to take refuge in the beginning stages of the war.