“According to our information Syria has become the new target for Jihadists from Germany,” the president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maaßen, told the paper.
In 2013 Syria will become “a new centre” for such trips, he said. Security officials estimated there were two to three dozen Muslims from Germany who are already in Syria and expect more to follow.
Some have traveled from Egypt to Syria and others left directly from Germany for the war-torn country. A number of radicalised Muslims are thinking of traveling to Syria, security officials believe, and they are therefore trying to revoke their passports.
Maaßen said his office, through its work, will do what it can so that such trips are prevented, where possible.
All together there are between 500 and 700 Islamic fighters from Europe in Syria, the paper said, citing security sources. That is about 10 percent of the 5,000 to 6,000 foreign fighters in Syria. Most are radical jihadists.
Most of the radicalised Islamic fighters are coming from neighbouring countries, such as Iraq, Libya or Tunisia, the paper said.