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Up to 23 German citizens fighting alongside Kurdish militias in Syria and Iraq

By Michael Hornsby, Berlin

According to reports in German media this week, as many as 23 German citizens are currently fighting against IS alongside Kurdish militias in Syria and Iraq.

Figures released by the federal government in response to a question by Ulla Jelpke of the Left party, show that 204 people have travelled to the region to fight IS alongside Kurdish militias since 2013. Sixty-nine of these travelled with German passports.

Of the 102 who have returned, 43 are Germans. Three of the returnees are classified by German authorities as “relevant persons” in anti-terror investigations, according to Osnabrucker Zeitung, who first reported the figures.

Of the three German citizens who have been killed in the fighting, one apparently died during a Turkish air strike on a village in north Syria in November last year.

A far greater number of people are reported to have travelled from Germany to fight alongside IS, with over 900 individuals travelling to join the self-declared caliphate as of January this year.

The German government strongly advises against travel to conflict zones in the region.

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