2 min read  | Aleppo, Multimedia, Photos, Politics

Islamic State flooded with foreign recruits


August 20, 2014

IS WANTS YOU: While the Islamic State (IS) sparked outrage in the international community Wednesday after releasing a video purportedly showing the execution of American journalist James Foley in retaliation for airstrikes in Iraq, a new report finds the group’s appeal in Syria higher than ever.

IS has reportedly recruited an estimated 6,300 fighters in Raqqa and Aleppo since July 2014, the highest number since they established their headquarters in A-Raqqa in late 2013, according to a report released Wednesday by monitoring group The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The information was gathered by a “credible source” and could not be independently verified.

Syrians joining IS do so because of a lack of options, says Abu Ade, a Syrian living under IS rule in the Aleppo province town of Al-Bab.  

“A large number join, either voluntarily or involuntarily, because of the poor human conditions for Syrians,” Abu Ade told Syria Direct on Wednesday, “especially when they are not able to support themselves other than by joining IS and receiving a monthly stipend.”

SOHR has reported that IS fighters receive $400 a month in salary, in addition to $50 for each child and $100 for each wife.

“There are also a number of military camps where women and children can join [to train],” Abu Ade said.

Of the 6,300 new fighters, 5,000 are reportedly of Syrian nationality, including 800 who were previously part of other opposition militias such as Jabhat a-Nusra.

The rest are a mix of foreigners from all over the world, many of whom entered through the porous Turkish border in the north. 

Meanwhile, the Syrian regime has staked out an “anti-terrorism” position in opposition to IS.

“We will not hesitate to cooperate with any country to fight terrorism,” Faisal Mekdad, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Syria, told pro-regime newspaper al-Watan Tuesday, “except those who call to fight [terrorists] and in reality fund and start them.”

IS and the regime are currently fighting in A-Raqqa, where IS fighters are attempting to storm the Tabqa Airport, the last regime outpost in the province.

-August 20, 2014

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