Time magazine published an informative article by Rep. Michael McCaul chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security yesterday.
Turkish border with Syria a huge problem (emphasis is mine):
Extremists are exploiting EU security gaps to exit Syria and Iraq and return to the West undetected, leading to a “terrorist diaspora”
Foreign fighters headed to the Middle East are not deterred by U.S. bombing in Syria and Iraq. According to recent reports, 1,000 fighters from countries across the globe are pouring into the conflict zone each month to fight with ISIS and other fanatics, adding to the 16,000 already estimated to have gone there.
The bad news is that Westerners are among their ranks, including Americans and Europeans, who are only a plane flight away from our shores. More troubling is that security gaps in Europe—and Turkey in particular—make it easier for them to return to the West undetected once they decide to leave.
The threat from “returnees” is real and growing. These battle-hardened, violent Islamists have the training and extremist networks to plot deadly terrorist attacks against our homeland.
Refugee groups as a Trojan Horse:
Equally worrisome is that terrorists might use refugee groups as a Trojan Horse to get into the West. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees have poured into Turkey this year, and many of them have left for other European countries by boat. It is unclear whether extremists are hiding in these groups, as few are comprehensively screened on the way out.
Unfortunately, the Mediterranean countries where these refugees are headed, like Italy and Greece, also have a disincentive to screen them. Overwhelmed by large migrant populations drawing on social services, these governments have a reason to “look the other way” and let unregistered migrants make their way into the rest of Europe to become another country’s problem. These transit routes are disturbingly susceptible to terrorist exploitation.
Wider European Union security gaps are also a problem. EU law forbids member states from automatically running EU citizens against terror watch lists when they return to the continent’s 26-country Schengen Area, a large swath of Europe in which its citizens can travel freely without border checks. As a result, only a fraction of EU citizens are screened against terror databases when they re-enter Europe. This vulnerability may allow European foreign fighters—many of whom can travel visa-free to the United States—to make it back to the West without drawing attention.
There is more, read it all.
See our complete ‘Invasion of Europe’ series where we almost daily report on the mostly Muslim migrant flow from the Middle East and Africa into Europe.