Swedish Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq: An analysis of open-source intelligence and statistical data
In this ground-breaking study, Linus Gustafsson and Dr. Magnus Ranstorp are exploring the phenomenon of Swedish foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq by analysing unique information provided by the Swedish Security Service. The aim is to fill empirical gaps and understand the Swedish foreign fighters contingent by anaysing set variables in the period of 2012 to 2016.
The study examines a set of variables of the foreign fighters that have travelled from Sweden to join jihadi terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq in the period of June 2012 to September 2016. The analysis includes 267 people that are, or have been, residents of Sweden.
The study shows that 76 percent of the foreign fighters are men, 24 percent are women and that the average age of the foreign fighters are 26. 18 percent of the travellers are 19 years old or younger. Further, a majority of the foreign fighters come from four of Sweden’s 21 counties – Västra Götaland, Stockholm, Skåne and Örebro. More than seventy percent have been residents of an exposed area. Finally, 75 percent of the foreign fighters are Swedish citizens, and 34 percent are born in Sweden.