An analysis released by the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (Politiets Efterretningstjeneste – PET) on Saturday revealed that at least 15 Danes have died in Syria while participating in that country’s ongoing civil war.
PET’s Center for Terror Analysis (CTA) estimated that at least 100 individuals have left Denmark for Syria to fight and that at least 15 of them have died.
The analysis also states that CTA expects even more people from Denmark’s extremist Muslim environment to join the war in Syria.
“We have never before seen so many leave Denmark for a conflict zone over such a short period as we see now with Syria,” the head of CTA, Søren Jensen, told news agency Ritzau.
In the analysis, CTA points to the advances of Isis in Iraq and “intensive and brutal propaganda” as leading reasons behind the large number of Danish militants who have chosen to fight in Syria. The report also expressed fears of young Danish Muslims being radicalised and concluded that Danish fighters’ contact with Isis “can contribute to increase the terror threat against Denmark”.
The centre did not however change the official terror threat level, which remains at ‘serious’.
The analysis states that the majority of those leaving Denmark for Syria are young Sunni Muslim men, but that Danish converts have also joined the fight. According to the CTA, most have connections to militant Islamic communities in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Odense.
CTA expressed concerns about those who have returned from Syria.
“CTA assesses that those who have travelled from Denmark and return to an Islamist environment can exploit their special status to recruit new members," the analysis states. “A significant number of the returnees from Syria have obtained concrete military skills as a result of their training and participation in battles.”