International Alert, one of the world’s leading peacebuilding organisations with 30 years of experience, has published this qualitative report on what makes young Syrians vulnerable to recruitment by extremist groups in the Syrian conflict and explores sources of resilience to mitigate that vulnerability.
This report is the result of interviews with 311 young Syrians, their families and community members in Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey. It includes desktop research, exploration of online forums, and monitoring and data evaluation from peace education project activities conducted in 13 locations. Participants included individuals previously involved in armed groups in Syria, those contemplating joining, friends and family members of those who have joined, teachers, and social workers.
Among their findings, International Alert found that radicalization and belief in extreme ideologies were not leading factors in the decision to join an extremist group. Reasons for joining were centred on psychological, material and social needs.