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Assessing The Threat of Westerners Who Become Fighters On Behalf Of Al Qaeda Insurgents In Syria

By Dr. Joshua Sinai

Western security services are highly concerned about the repercussions to their own countries' national security emanating from the waves of radicalized Western Muslims (whether Muslim-born or converts) who have been traveling to Syria to fight on behalf of the Sunni-based al Qaeda-affiliated insurgent groups against the Bashar al-Assad regime. With the al Qaeda-affiliated insurgents expanding their insurgency from Syria into Iraq, the presence of Western foreign fighters in Iraq is a growing concern, as well - although it is not covered in this analysis. The concern about these Western fighters is that assuming they survive their military experience in the Syrian civil war upon their return to their Western home countries they would be so imbued with heightened jihadist inclinations that they would not only further radicalize others, but in the worst case scenario conduct terrorist attacks against their own countries.


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