Fifty-six Malaysian citizens allegedly involved in terrorist activities are still under detention in Syria, said Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-Terrorism (E8) deputy director-general Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay.
He said men recorded the highest number with 19, followed by boys (17), women (12) and eight girls.
"Of these, nine (two women, five boys and a girl) have sought assistance to return to Malaysia.
"Of the total, 27 are in Al-Houl camp, nine in Al-Hasakah prison, one in Idlib and 19 are still at large," he said.
He was speaking to reporters after presenting his talk "Terrorism: Influence and Domestic Threats", at Universiti Malaysia Pahang’s (UMP) “Bicara Cendiakawan Mulia” programme at the UMP campus in Pekan today.
He also revealed that there had been Daesh terrorist efforts to convince foreigners in Syria including Malaysians to stay and fight alongside as they were confident that they would re-establish the Islamic State.
"Intelligence information suggests that there has been an effort to strengthen the ideology of Daesh terrorists among foreigners in Syria, especially in women and children camps.
"They are trying to convince Malaysians and people of other countries that they will return to power, making some of them reluctant to return home," he said.
Ayob (above) also explained that the men would be arrested by the police and charged in court on their return from Syria.
"Children and women will be subjected to special investigations using the services of psychologists and religious practitioners to assess their ideology and we will find answers for their reasons for going to Syria, whether they were forced or duped. If there is enough evidence, the women will also be charged in court," he said.
He also said that while 120 Malaysians were known to have travelled to Syria since 2014 to engage in terrorism, there has been no recent attempt by anyone to go there to engage in such activities.