The conflict in Syria has proved to be a hotbed for radical Islamist groups, with dozens currently operating in the Country’s civil war, fighting against the Syrian government and President Assad. While there are a few rebel groups which are not seeking to impose Shariah law, the opposition has been polarized with Islamic fundamentalists since at least 2012.
ISIS is the most notable terrorist group currently active in the Syrian war. They have thrived off support from some Muslims living in Europe, Asia, and America. ISIS has been able to effectively lure Muslims into travelling to Syria and Iraq, and joining them.For example, in July 2014, 2 Somalian girls living in Manchester ran away to Syria to join ISIS. Furthermore, they group has also been able to inspire terrorist attacks in a range of different Countries, including Belgium, France and the USA. In 2016, ISIS has seen its territory shrink in both Syria and Iraq. One of their biggest defeats was in Central Syria, in Palmyra. An article published on IB Times explained how the area had been useful for ISIS. It reads “ISIS has also used the ancient amphitheater in Palmyra, also known as the “Pearl of the Desert,” as a place for public executions, including the beheading of Khaled Asaad, who was the city’s 82-year-old former antiquities chief.”
Terrorist Group’s Branding Needs to be Tackled
In late July, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, changed its name to Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, cutting ties with Al-Qaeda. After the name change, many media outlets have essentially endorsed the name change by calling the group by its new name.
As a means of countering international terrorism, media outlets and governments should address terrorist groups by a simple, designated name for each group e.g. Terror Organisation 1 for ISIS, Terror Organisation 2 for Al-Nusra etc. This is perhaps similar to the plain-packaging on cigarettes. This could potentially prove to be a useful measure against international terrorism.