Bosnia Foreign Fighters

Syria-born Aimen Awad on Bosnia's Islamic fighters during the war.

Bosnian public TV BHT, Sarajevo, 24. 11. 2009, in Bosnian.

Awad has lived in the Balkans since 1982, first in Croatia, then in Bosnia, and fought in the "El Mujaheed" unit of foreign fighters during the 1992-96 war. In May 2009 he was arrested by the Bosnian police in Zenica. The police said they were hunting foreign-born Muslims who fought in the war and stayed in Bosnia as "illegal aliens". Aimen Awad complained that he would be jailed in Syria for fighting abroad and fought a legal battle against his extradition. Aimen Awad is married to a Bosnian woman and the family has 4 children.

Thousands of Islamic fighters fought during the war with Bosnian Muslims against Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats. Militarily their role was never significant, but they often boosted the morale of besieged Bosnian government troops. Most of these former fighters left the country under US pressure in the late 1990s, though some remained after marrying locally.