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Foreign Fighter Involvement in Syria

05/01/2014 | by Skidmore, J.  

As the conflict in Syria approaches its third year, increasing attention and concern are being paid to the conflict’s extremely high number of foreign fighters (FFs). Conservative estimates place the number of FFs in Syria between 6,000 – 12,000. Thus, Syria has attracted more FFs than any other previous conflict, and in particular, has attracted an enormous number of Western FFs. FFs pose various threats to both their home states and the current conflict. The staggering numbers of FFs in Syria therefore, have alarmed security officials who are faced with these threats. By outlining these various threats, assessing the Syrian conflict and its key actors, and the various FFs involved, this report seeks to explain why Syria has attracted so many FFs. Furthermore, this report proposes several essential measures necessary for counter strategies, specifically those developed by Western states.

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