September 21, 2015

TSG IntelBrief: Fleeing the Islamic State

• The images of Syrian refugees fleeing the savagery of war—escaping both Assad’s brutality and that of groups such as the Islamic State—is a reality the Islamic State cannot effectively counter in its propaganda

• The refugee crisis is also a crisis for the Islamic State; more people are visibly fleeing the group and the areas it controls than are flocking to join it

• The group has put out ten messages denouncing refugees, emphasizing imagined horrors in Europe, and trying to entice those fleeing and others to come to its self-proclaimed caliphate

•The group is trying to highlight isolated incidents of refugee mistreatment and the dangers of sea-crossing in a futile attempt to dissuade people from fleeing;  a massive European backlash against the refugees would play into the group’s efforts.