New Delhi, Sept 11: The conflict hit areas like Iraq, Syria have become hot favourite for Islamic State (ISIS) to recruit their fighters. Unrest in these countries have resulted in large number of recruitment for the extremist group from this region.
According to intelligence sources, at least 1,500 recruits from Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan) and Xinjiang in China are already fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
While talking to Al-Monitor, Jacob Zenn of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation, an institute for research and analysis said "Apart from ISIS, a significant number of people from these areas are also fighting for the other extremist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra coalition in Syria."
"Elements needed for ISIS recruitment like young people experiencing "a lack of perspective, unfulfilled ambitions and lack of religious knowledge are easily available in the area," said Peter Knoope, an associate fellow with the International Center for Counter-Terrorism of The Hague.
Zenn highlights that extremism in Central Asia so far has been mostly nonviolent in the past few years. He underlines, however, that Knoope's prediction has already become a reality in Xinjiang, as violence has afflicted that area for a while.
Xinjiang home to over 10 million Uighurs has witnessed many attacks which were not reported by the media. If you go through the reported attacks, hundreds of people lost their lives in attacks carried out by using daggers and even car and suitcase bombings.
China always try to put all these attacks out of media reach.
He said jihadism will become more prevalent, given the large number of Uighurs in Syria and Turkey who are determined to create "East Turkistan" or - for those in IS - ‘Wilayat Khurasan,' a broad region including parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan that IS has claimed as its own province.
After recognising that most Uighurs in Syria are with Jabhat al-Nusra, keeping this in mind ISIS has started a propaganda program to encourage Uighurs to join ISIS.
"This will help ISIS in its own rivalry with Jabhat al-Nusra, because every fighter who changes sides is a propaganda tool as well as a plus-minus win for IS. IS can also take advantage of the many Uighurs in Turkey who may be considering gaining militant experience in Syria to prepare one day to return to Xinjiang to fight and recruit" for ISIS," added Zenn.