JAKARTA, Indonesia – Dozens of Indonesian extremists are fighting in Syria as radical Islamist groups launch a "global jihad", local media reported, citing a new Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) report.
"The conflict in Syria has captured the imagination of Indonesian extremists in a way no foreign war has before," according to the report, "Indonesians and the Syrian Conflict". "For the first time, Indonesians are going overseas to fight, not just to train … or to give moral and financial support."
The Foreign Affairs Ministry estimated at least 50 nationals are among the estimated 8,000 foreigners fighting in Syria, the Jakarta Globe reported. They include members of Jemaah Islamiyah and the West Indonesia Mujahideen.
"As far as we know the number of Indonesian combatants is still in the dozens, but it could climb," IPAC director Sidney Jones said. "Jihadi humanitarian assistance teams now appear to be facilitating the entry of fighters as well."
Indonesia's Immigration Office will determine whether any Indonesians in Syria should be placed on a watch list, a spokesman, Heriyanto, told the Globe. "If people seek to enter Syria, we will surely interrogate them to know what the purpose of their visit is," he said.