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Western Foreign Fighters in Syria

ICSR is engaged in an expansive study of foreign fighters participating in the Syrian conflict. In particular, this project focuses on fighters from North America, Europe, and Australasia.

The primary focus of our research is to explore, understand, and explain what motivates young men to become foreign fighters. Why do they go? How do they get there? What do they do? And will they pose a threat to the West?

Using pioneering social science methods, we have developed an extensive database of several hundred fighters, monitoring their social media footprint. We speak to fighters and interview them to learn more about their experiences.

Finally, we combine these approaches with practical fieldwork, travelling to Turkish/Syrian border towns and interviewing fighters there. The outgrows of this project have already informed policy in the European Union, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, United States, and Australia.

ICSR Report: Pain, Confusion, Anger, and Shame: The Stories of Islamic State Families

ICSR Report: Victims, Perpetrators, Assets: The Narratives of Islamic State Defectors

ICSR Report: Who Inspires the Syrian Foreign Fighters?

ICSR Insight: What to do about British foreign fighters in Syria

ICSR Insight: Up to 11,000 foreign fighters in Syria; steep rise among Western Europeans

ICSR Insight: Syrian Foreign Fighters: 10 Questions for Government

ICSR Insight: ICSR identifies Briton killed fighting in Syria

ICSR Insight: British Foreign Fighters in Syria

ICSR Insight: European Foreign Fighters in Syria