SRI Security Research Institute, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia
The crisis in Syria has attracted worldwide attention as well as condemnation and has degraded into a violent civil conflict. Not only are there more than a thousand rebel groups including a number of hard‐line jihadist groups operating within Syria, but these jihadist groups are attracting a significant number of foreigners including Australians. This study examined social media discourses from Facebook and embedded YouTube links for recruiting Westerners to the war in Syria. Findings suggest that the perceived inaction of the international community and in particular the West coupled with the atrocities committed has become a platform for jihadi recruitment. Furthermore, Jihadi operations are promoted as an essential obligation for Muslims and are supported by the Quran as well as legal and religious arguments. However, the major finding was that the call was not for combatants but for martyrs willing to sacrifice everything for the cause of Allah. The dimensions of this call are further analysed as well as the security and policy implications for Australia.