Leiden Safety and Security Blog

New ISGA report: “Destination Syria”

New ISGA report: “Destination Syria”

In recent years, many European countries have been confronted with residents that have travelled to Syria to join jihadist groups. This phenomenon has received a great deal of attention among both academics and practitioners. Still, our understanding of what daily life looks like for these foreigners within the ranks of jihadist parties remained limited. Destination Syria changes that.

This exploratory study provides us with important insights on the daily lives of western citizens that have decided to travel to an area torn by conflict to join ISIS or Jabhat al-Nusra/Jabhat Fath al-Sham. The authors cover a variety of key aspects that influence life in the areas controlled by these groups, such as administrative structures, policies, training, deployment, services, social conduct control and financial aspects – making Destination Syria one of the first studies to comprehensively outline what daily life looks like within jihadist territory.

Written for a Dutch court, the report zooms in specifically on the lives of Dutch citizens in Syria. Yet the authors cover far more ground as they also describe the broader contexts that shape these lives. As such, the report also provides valuable insights on the daily lives of other western citizens that traveled to Syria, as well as details on living under ISIS rule while not being an ISIS member or supporter. Therefore, Destination Syria is an invaluable read to anyone concerned with the daily realities in Syria.

The full report can be read here

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