Syrian Migrant Arrested in Greece on Suspicion of Being ISIS Terrorist

November 19, 2020 Updated: November 19, 2020

Greek police arrested a Syrian migrant on Nov. 19 on suspicion that he was a member of the ISIS terrorist group.

The 27-year-old man, who arrived in Greece in March 2018, had been staying at a migrant camp with his wife and children. He was arrested after a brawl between two groups in the camp the day before. Authorities didn’t identify the man.

He was accused of being a member of a terrorist group as well as involvement in a number of killings, and was expected to appear before a prosecutor later in the day, according to a police statement.

Greece bore the brunt of a large influx of migrants from the Middle East into Europe in 2015 and 2016.

Following a series of Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe, European Union leaders have agreed to tighten controls over the borders of the Schengen area, which includes Greece.

In the Schengen zone, which covers 26 countries, including most EU members as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein, national borders are all but abolished to ensure the free and unrestricted movement of people.

In the past month, the area has come under increased scrutiny in the wake of attacks in Nice, France, and Vienna, which involved terrorists entering the EU and moving freely between Schengen countries.

The attack in the southern French city of Nice on Oct. 29, in which an elderly woman was beheaded and two more people were slain, was allegedly committed by Brahim Aouissaoui, a 21-year-old Tunisian citizen.

According to the authorities, Aouissaoui traveled from Tunisia to Italy through the island of Lampedusa on Sept. 20, and then crossed the border into France, arriving in Paris on Oct. 9.

At an online meeting with EU leaders last week, French President Emmanuel Macron said he wanted “deep reform” of how the external borders of the Schengen area are policed.

“All weaknesses at the external border or in one member state is [sic] a security risk for all members,” he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said, “it is vitally necessary to know who comes in and who leaves the Schengen area.”

Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz said that more action is needed to protect people from ex-jihadis, many of whom had fought with the ISIS terrorist group in Syria or Iraq.

He called them “ticking time bombs” and a “permanent danger among us.”

On Nov. 2, a 20-year-old ISIS sympathizer shot dead four people and wounded 22 in the Austrian capital Vienna before being killed by police.

The attacker, Kujtim Fejzulai, a dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia, had sought to purchase ammunition in Slovakia and had met with other terror suspects visiting from Germany and Switzerland in the summer.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.