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Although the estimated number of Moroccans fighting in Syria varies sharply, with the highest at 1,000, local Salafist-jihadist leaders claim that the number could be even higher, in the 1,000-1,500 range. The increasing presence of Moroccan fighters draws further attention to the domestic issue of Salafist-jihadist detainees. The failure to resolve or address this issue or the underlying causes of radicalization have – along with other motives – encouraged Moroccan Salafist-jihadists to join fights in Syria and elsewhere.Dozens of Moroccans – including Benchekroun – have been killed during recent fights with the regime in Latakia province, and it remains to be seen whether recent deaths will influence the number of Moroccan fighters joining Sham al-Islam.Moroccan jihadists find that the logistical aspects of fighting in Syria are easier compared to other regional theaters.Many young Moroccan jihadists, for instance, remain active on Facebook while fighting in Syria, keeping in touch with their friends back home and encouraging them to join the conflict.Exporting Moroccan jihadists (or tacitly allowing them to leave) is indeed a far less costly and contentious remedy to the issue of Salafist-jihadist radicalization.
Exploiting Morocco’s security threat
In Morocco, tension has been rising between Islamists and secularists
Morocco’s loyalists reinvent themselves
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