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Foreign Fighters Becoming Disillusioned with ISIS

Over the last couple of months, there have been reports of foreign fighters defecting from ISIS and trying to return home. A principal reason for their disillusionment appears to be the realization that ISIS is not the noble cause they signed up for.

British, French and Dutch news outlets have all carried stories of their nationals becoming disenchanted with the jihad in Syria and Iraq. Complaints have taken a variety of forms. ISIS is on the defensive, is racked with internal dissension, and has been forcing foreigners to fight other rebel groups. They have also been forced to do “useless things”, including undertaking suicide bombing missions with little purpose. Foreigners have been given little voice in decision-making.

The reports indicate the problem has grown to the point where ISIS is requiring fighters to carry identity papers specifying their assignments, is setting up checkpoints to prevent desertions, and is arresting and executing many who have attempted to flee.  Both the Financial Times and AFP reported that ISIS “police” arrested 400 foreign fighters at ISIS headquarters in Raqqa and that a hundred have been killed while attempting to return home. According to another source, there was a firefight at the Turkish border in which British fighters were killed on both sides.

As the word gets back home, it seems a safe assumption that recruitment is going to suffer.

The mission of the Vimy Report is to inject new information that will raise the quality of public discussion on security and defence issues, to do so with impact, and thereby to educate and influence the ultimate decision-makers: citizens and their elected representatives.

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