The Sun, December 5, 2017.
AS many as 26,000 jihadis are on the loose and pose a serious threat of lone wolf attacks, according to a US Colonel at the forefront of the battle against ISIS.
Colonel Ryan Dillon issued the grave warning as it emerged that ISIS fighters are sneaking on to convoys designed to take civilians out of newly liberated Raqqa, once the terror group’s de-facto capital.
Around 4,000 jihadis and their families were allowed to flee the city in 7km-long convoys when the city fell last month, a BBCinvestigation revealed.
Footage said to show armed ISIS thugs on trucks and buses commandeered by US-backed Kurdish forces, some of which were allegedly packed with weaponry, as they head south-east.
But dozens of fighters have since been caught using smuggling routes to travel north into Turkey and from there, mainland Europe where they pose a risk to the wider population.
They include former ISIS fighter Saddam al-Hamadi, who was caught on the small town of al-Rai on the Turkey-Syria border.
He claimed hundreds of militants were doing the same, telling the Times: “I took advantage of that movement during the evacuation deal to get to Turkey.
“Lots of people were doing it, around half of them fighters and half of them civilians. It was an easy route to cross.”