Despite Shrinking Influence, ISIS Still Poses a Threat
Xeber24.net – Asharq Al-Awsat
A recent Saudi report showed ISIS’ shrinking presence in Iraq and Syria does not indicate the end of the threat posed by the terror organization known to include worldwide operatives; especially that foreign ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria, where the group fought most to establish a self-proclaimed caliphate, will at a point return home.
The report, which examines about 760 cases of Saudi ISIS affiliates, was issued this month by the director of the security research unit at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Dr. Abdullah bin Khalid bin Saud.
The study relies on a number of documents leaked from ISIS in Syria. The report states that the Turkish border represented the crossing point for hundreds of Saudi fighters who joined the organization in both Iraq and Syria.
The first of its kind, the research paper provides important takes on the organization’s insider environment and methods of recruitment, the motives driving conscripts towards joining the terror group, and sheds light on life under ISIS rule.
In early 2016, an enormous amount of classified documents related to ISIS foreign fighters were leaked. It was later acquired by a limited number of media and academic institutions, including the International Center for the Study of Extremism at King’s College London.
The study provides an in-depth analysis of the leaked documents regarding 759 ISIS militants that came from Saudi Arabia – citizens and residents – listed in these documents, as well as important information on the recruitment strategy adopted by the group.
The study found that most Saudi fighters, although are youth, have not been victims of social isolation nor were considered as outcasts.
As for the demographics, the report revealed that the highest rate of ISIS militants per population belonged to Al-Qassim Region.