02 April 2016
The arrest last month of a Singapore citizen, Wang Yuandongyi, for attempting to travel to Syria to fight with a Kurdish militia against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) raises questions about the psychological processes at play with individuals attempting to fight with anti-ISIS groups, as well as the options available to the authorities in dealing with such cases.
Should these individuals be treated in the same manner as those attempting to fight for ISIS?
The balance of probability is that Wang was on his way to northern Syria to fight with the YPG (People’s Protection Units), the major Kurdish opposition to ISIS in that region.
Analysis from the Centre of Excellence for National Security, which I head, of the background, motivations and nationalities of over 200 “lone wolves” (out of an estimated total number of 400 to 500 actually on the ground) who have made the journey to fight ISIS suggests that about half fight with the YPG. A smaller number fight with the Peshmerga of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq and an even smaller number have joined Assyrian Christian militia in Syria. At least 12 individuals from these groups have been killed.
… Dr Shashi Jayakumar is head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
CENS / Online / Print
Last updated on 08/04/2016