LONDON, UK (CNN) – There are thousands fighting in Syria, hundreds from Britain, and many of them online, boasting about battlefield exploits, posting gruesome photos of executions and beheadings.
According to Shiraz Maher of King’s College, “Our database contains just over 450 individual people who have gone out to fight in Syria. That includes men and women. We have gone through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, all these various social media accounts and have begun to build a profile for all of the individuals who have gone out there.”
The International Centre for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College in London tracks many of them online. Peter Neumann founded the centre.
“Up to 12 thousand people have gone to Syria and 20% of those are westerners and of the westerners, 2000 are western Europeans,” said Neumann. “The western Europeans, brits represent maybe 400, certainly a sizable number but it is by far not the largest number.”
They, like many analysts and investigators, have been scouring their databases to see if there is a match for Foley’s killer, the masked man with the British accent. Here, they show us how they build profiles on known militants.
Joseph Carter of King’s College said, “This guy’s from Sweden. He’s from Sweden. What’s really helpful about this is that you can get a sense of what weapons they’re using, what they’re equipped with. Before, maybe in a conflict, you would have to have intelligence you’ve gleamed from on the ground and now you can see that stuff on twitter.”
Reporter: “You can even tell where they are with a shot like that?” Carter responded, “Exactly.”
That constantly ringing noise in the background? That’s one of their contacts, a British Jihadist in Syria carefully suggesting that some fighters want to come back home, even though they face time in jail. Incredibly, more than 200 fighters have returned home from Syria since the conflict began.
“I said how many people are you with? He said I’m with 80 people. I said all brits? He said 30 brits,” Maher said.
Carter said, “If he’s not b*********** you, he thinks you can be a conduit. To help him comeback.”
“Yeah because they are reading the headlines and Boris Johnson that say they are all going to be locked up and thrown away and taken their passport,” said Neumann.
They also flag up this video: The most recent slick propaganda production from ISIS; designed to show their planning operations, showcasing video taken from a drone camera.
Carter said, “This looks like he might be going on a suicide mission. That would be really interesting. Wow.”
Despite trawling through videos like this; however, none of the Jihadist the centre has been profiling match the man in Foley’s video.
Even if he is found, he is still far from the reach of the British government with no guarantee that Foley’s executioner will ever face justice.