BERLIN (AA) – Nearly 250 foreign fighters from Germany traveled to Syria and Iraq to take up arms with the terrorist group PKK/PYD, the German government has confirmed.
Since 2013, intelligence services identified 243 individuals who traveled from Germany to the region in order to join the PKK and the PYD units, the German Interior Ministry said in a reply to a parliamentary question.
At least 20 of them were killed in clashes.
Of the 243 foreign fighters who joined the PKK and its Syrian affiliate PYD, 65 percent had German passports, according to the ministry.
While the PKK has been banned in Germany since 1993, it managed to set up several covert organizations in the country, and used them for its recruitment, propaganda and fundraising activities.
The terrorist group had nearly 14,000 followers among the Kurdish immigrant population in Germany, according to the latest annual report of the country’s domestic intelligence agency.
Ankara has long criticized German authorities for not taking serious measures against the terrorist group, and continued activities of PKK and PYD in Germany has been a major source of friction between the two NATO allies.
The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years and has been responsible for the death of nearly 40,000 people.