The Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) informed through a press release on Saturday that a high number of persons, especially from Western Europe and Western Balkans, were interested to travel to Syria and Iraq to engage in conflicts there, mainly transiting Romania and Bulgaria, as land routes. SRI says ‘the effective management of risks associated with the phenomenon is extremely difficult’ in the absence of specific ‘legal tools’. SRI notes that it has issued the release in order to bring clarifications in the context of the public statements on the transit of Romania to/from Syria by persons (foreign fighters) engaged in the conflict in the region’.
‘In the context of the extension of the Syrian crisis and of the rise of the Islamic State terrorist organisation, starting with 2013, a growing number of persons from European states, mainly from Northern and Western Europe and Western Balkans have become interested to cross the region headed to Syria and Iraq to take part in combat activities in the conflict zone. This phenomenon of fighter transfer is being monitored with priority in Europe by the relevant institutions, including those in Romania’, the release posted to the website of the institution states.
‘So far, whilst our country has had a low level of threat from this phenomenon, we do find the premises for an acceleration of its evolution and, by that, an increase of associated risks’, the document states.
Over 4,000 fighters-citizens or residents of European states – are engaged on behalf of the extremist groups in the conflict area
At the same time – SRI notes – according to latest assessments, in the conflict area over 4,000 fighters are engaged on behalf of the extremist groups, citizens of residents of European states – a situation that represents a major concern to national authorities in all Western states, as well as to EU bodies, from the point of view of the induced security risks. ‘It has been seen that the exposure to violence, the combat experience gained, the fundamentalist indoctrination and mostly the preservation of connections with various terrorist entities create favourable prerequisites for those people to become, after their return to their respective countries of origin, prominent risk factors. It has also been determined tat a significant number of such persons subsequently become engaged in activities of the same type, such as: terrorist actions, radicalisation processes, recruitment of new followers-fighters, financial and logistic support and organisation of freights of aid and equipment, travelling back to the conflict zone’, the SRI release reads.
‘The preferred routes for travelling from Western Europe to Syria-Iraq are either by air, transiting countries in the neighbourhood of the conflict area, or by land, including through Romania and/or Bulgaria.
In the present context, marked by the dynamic of phenomena and their national and European consequences, SRI and the institutions belonging to the National System for the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (SNPCT) are making the necessary efforts to preserve the state of security, stepping up operative cooperation including with the partner agencies in the allies states. Among the domestic measures taken there are the adequate calibration of intelligence tools and preventive response capacity’, the SRI release further notes.
The document further notes that the data gathered has allowed for the transmission of an important volume of information to lawful beneficiaries and international partners and implementation of preventive measures (deterrence action, declarations of undesirable persons, bans from entering the country, information of criminal bodies etc.), determining, under the national legislation, the control and limitation of such sustained flows also coming from the manifestation of risks and threats in the national territory. The measures have been appreciated by the international partners as Romanian contribution to the security of the European space’, the quoted document further states.
Hammond: Britain works closely with Romanian, Bulgarian intelligence
On Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond stressed during an anti-terrorist meeting in London the importance of efforts to stop the movement of the members of the Islamic State terrorist group through European countries such as Romania and Bulgaria, according to ‘The Guardian’. In the context, Hammond underlined the importance of efforts to stop Isis recruits travelling through European countries such as Romania and Bulgaria and said he had visited the capitals of both countries, where Britain was working closely with the national security services.
SRI has been insisting lately for the adoption and promulgation of the cyber security law denounced by several NGOs, the legislative text being eventually ruled unconstitutional by the Romanian Constitutional Court.