Back to publications
Research Paper

A Comparative Analysis of the Data on Western Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq: Who Went and Why?

10 Feb 2021
Long read by Lorne L. Dawson
This report offers a concise, comprehensive, and critical overview of the empirical findings available on the background and possible motivations foreign fighters. It focuses on the young Western men and women who became jihadist foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq. The analysis compares thirty-four reports and academic articles published between 2014 and 2019. The analysis focuses on demographic factors, socio-economic marginalisation, past criminality, mental health issues, and ideology/ religion. The report summarises the findings, delineates the methodological limitations, and identifies interpretive biases present in much the research.
* The ISSN number that is in the PDF is incorrect. The correct ISSN number is 2468-0664. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.