Manama: Authorities in Saudi Arabia believe that 2,093 Saudi nationals have joined terror groups in various armed conflict zones around the world.

According to the spokesperson of the interior ministry, Syria tops the list with more than 70 per cent of the Saudi terrorists, Saudi daily Al Hayat reported.

There are 1,540 Saudis in the terror groups in Syria, 147 in Yemen, 31 in Afghanistan and Pakistan and five in Iraq, Mansoor Al Turki said.

No details are available about the remaining 297 Saudi terrorists, he added.

Al Turki said that the number of people who sympathised with the Daesh terror groups has decreased.

“According to the figures that we have, the number of Saudis joining Daesh is much less than most of us have thought,” he said.

“In fact, the number of Daesh terrorists from other countries is higher.”

Saudis have often expressed their commitment to fighting terrorism while rejecting the claim of a strong link between terrorism and Wahabism, pointing out to the high number of terrorists “from other Arab or Asian countries who did not have a Wahabi upbringing” fighting with Daesh.

In September, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz said that Saudi Arabia was among the first countries to suffer from it.

The Saudi kingdom has been targeted since 1992 by more than 100 terrorist operations, including 18 carried out by elements with links to regional countries, he said.

Prince Mohammad who is also his country’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior said that the kingdom has thwarted 268 terrorist operations, including some that targeted other countries.

He added that Saudi Arabia has issued a package of regulations and measures to criminalise terrorism and its finance and joined more than 12 international agreements.

Milestone actions taken to correct the deviated thought were to establish the Mohammad Bin Nayef Centre for Advice and Care and the fatwa (edict) by the Senior Scholars Commission against terrorism and banning financing it or joining terror groups.