Breaking Down the Ethnic Albanian Foreign Fighters Phenomenon
Abstract

This essay examines the involvement of ethnic Albanian foreign fighters in the conflict in Syria and Iraq with a particular focus on Kosovo Albanians, given their higher participation rate in the conflict. It explores regional historical and contextual conditions conducive to religious radicalization among ethnic Albanians, assesses the scale of the foreign fighter problem and possible structural drivers of radicalization, and provides an overview of the fighters’ backgrounds, affiliations, motivations, and narratives. The study ultimately concludes that effective counter-narrative campaigns and broader government responses must be informed by a comprehensive understanding of the underlying conditions of and reasons for radicalization.


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