Spanish agents in Syria are cooperating with Operation Gallant Phoenix, a U.S.-led effort to identify fighters from Western nations who have joined Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Qaeda-affiliated groups in the region, counter-terrorism sources told EL PAÍS.

The Spanish Interior Ministry believes there are 130 jihadists who are either Spanish citizens or residents and who remain in conflict areas, out of a total of 237 who have traveled to the region. The ministry recently launched a new counter-terrorism strategy that underscored the risk posed by returning fighters.

Spanish participation in Operation Gallant Phoenix is not new, but its relevance has grown after US President Donald Trump issued an ultimatum in mid-February urging European countries to take back the more than 800 foreign jihadists captured in Syria and held by Kurdish forces.

Read more: El Pais (Spain)