Some 135 foreign fighters, who joined the terrorist PKK group and took part in armed attacks in Syria and Iraq, returned to Germany, according to a recent intelligence report released on Thursday.
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency BfV warned in its annual report that the PKK remains the largest foreign extremist group in the country, and its followers can carry out violent attacks if they receive instructions from the group leaders abroad.
Since 2013, at least 270 foreign fighters from Germany travelled to northern Syria and Iraq where they received military training from the PKK terrorist group and took part in armed attacks in the region and in southeastern Turkey, according to the report.
“At least 23 of them died in the battle zones. Nearly 135 of them returned to Germany in the meantime,” the report said, without giving any further details about the foreign fighters having returned.
According to the BfV, the PKK has set up new cover organizations in Germany last year to continue its recruitment, propaganda and fundraising activities.
It had nearly 14,500 followers among the country’s Kurdish immigrant population, and raised an estimated €16 million ($18.1 million) in Germany in various campaigns last year, the report noted.
The PKK, which is classified as an “ethno-nationalist” and “separatist” terrorist organization by the EU’s law enforcement agency EUROPOL, has been banned in Germany since 1993.
Turkey has long urged German authorities to take more serious measures against the PKK’s activities in this country.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and EU — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
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