Foreign Fighters in the Syria and Iraq Conflict: Statistics and Characteristics of a Rapidly Growing Phenomenon

Chapter

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the statistics and characteristics of foreign fighters of all sides of the conflict in Syria and Iraq, and the reasons for this phenomenon as well as some general policy responses in the countries from which these fighters originate. First, the authors provide a short historical background of foreign fighters and a definition of the term, which is used throughout this book. Next, it describes the rapidly growing numbers and characteristics of these fighters in Syria and Iraq. Finally, adding up the various assessments, the authors arrive at a combined estimate of a total number of more than 30,000 foreign fighters of all sorts for the entire conflict in Syria and Iraq since 2011.

Keywords

Statistics Characteristics Foreign Fighters Historical background Proxy war Trends Country of origin Definitions Islamic State Terrorism Transit country Transnational threat 

References

  1. Azzam Y (1987) Join the Caravan https://ebooks.worldofislam.info/ebooks/Jihad/Join%20the%20Caravan.pdf. Accessed 15 April 2015
  2. Bakker E, Paulussen C, Entenmann E (2013) Dealing with European foreign fighters in Syria: governance challenges and legal implications. ICCT Research paper www.icct.nl/download/file/ICCT-Bakker-Paulussen-Entenmann-Dealing-With-European-Foreign-Fighters-in-Syria.pdf. Accessed 16 June 2015
  3. Barrett R (2014) Foreign fighters in Syria. The Soufan Group www.soufangroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/TSG-Foreign-Fighters-in-Syria.pdf. Accessed 16 June 2015
  4. Byman D, Shapiro J (2014) Be afraid. Be a little afraid: the threat of terrorism from foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq. Brookings, Policy Paper 34Google Scholar
  5. Gartenstein-Ross D, Barr N (2015) Dignity and dawn: Libya’s escalating civil war, ICCT Research Paper, February 2015. www.icct.nl/download/file/ICCT-Gartenstein-Ross-Barr-Executive-Summary-Libyas-Escalating-Civil-War-February2015.pdf. Accessed 16 June 2015
  6. Mackinlay J (2002) Globalization and Insurgency. Adelphi Paper No. 352. International Institute for Strategic Studies, LondonGoogle Scholar
  7. Malet D (2013) Foreign fighters. Transnational identity in civil conflicts. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  8. Reed A, de Roy van Zuijdewijn J, Bakker E (2015). Pathways of foreign fighters: Policy Options and Their (Un)Intended Consequences. ICCT Policy Brief. www.icct.nl/download/file/ICCT-Reed-De-Roy-Van-Zuijdewijn-Bakker-Pathways-Of-Foreign-Fighters-Policy-Options-And-Their-Un-Intended-Consequences-April2015.pdf. Accessed 16 June 2015
  9. Salehyan I (2009) Rebels without borders: transnational insurgencies in world politics. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  10. Smyth P (2015) The Shiite Jihad in Syria and its Regional Effects (Policy Focus number 138) The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. www.washingtoninstitute.org/uploads/Documents/pubs/PolicyFocus138_Smyth-2.pdf. Accessed 16 June 2015
  11. Stern J, Berger JM (2014) ISIS. The State of Terror. Harper Collins, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Zelin A (2012) Foreign Fighters Trickle into the Syrian Rebellion. The Washington Institute: PolicyWatchGoogle Scholar
  13. Zelin A (2013) European Foreign Fighters in Syria. ICSR Insight. http://icsr.info/2013/04/icsr-insight-european-foreign-fighters-in-syria-2/. Accessed 5 May 2015

Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the authors 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Centre for Counter-TerrorismThe HagueThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations