ISIS defectors hold key to countering group’s recruitment


The Intercept reports: While the Islamic State continues to lose territory on the ground in Iraq and Syria, the appeal of its apocalyptic ideas has proven more enduring. Since 2014, the group, also known as ISIS, has managed to attract as many as 30,000 recruits from around the world, including several thousand men and women from Europe and North America.

A significant number of these individuals are believed to have been recruited online using social media.

A new project focused on interviews with individuals who joined and later defected from ISIS might offer a way of stifling the appeal of the group. The ISIS Defectors Interview Project, conducted by the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, compiles video and written testimony from former members of the group. Between September 2015 and May 2016, Anne Speckhard, a research psychologist at Georgetown University, and Ahmet Yayla, a former counterterrorism head of the Turkish National Police, met with 32 former ISIS members who escaped the group and have since fled to Turkey.[Continue reading…]

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