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New UN report on Islamic State gives Ankara another headache

Security Council report red flags Uyghur diaspora in Turkey as a recruitment source for jihadi networks in Syria and Afghanistan.
Idlib protest

On July 15, a report submitted to the UN Security Council by the council's committee working on the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda documented the resilience of jihadi militant networks. The 22-page report looks at the activities of these networks in five different regions during the first six months of 2021. Turkey is only mentioned in the Iraq and Levant section, but its unique relations with foreign fighters raise concerns for domestic and international security.

Foreign fighters not only help keep the idea of a universal holy war alive, but they are one of the reasons why militant jihadi movements have survived despite global efforts. Militant jihad is based on a network of career fighters who move from one war zone to another. Since the beginning of Syrian civil war in 2011, Turkey’s proximity to the battle zones and desire to topple the Syrian regime meant that in the early years of the conflict Ankara turned a blind eye to foreigners traveling to Syria, and over time enabled logistics support to multiple networks. 

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