The presence of foreign fighters often transforms the nature of a conflict from a popular insurgency into another battlefield of jihad, as happened in 2013 with the armed conflict in Syria. The term "foreign fighter" is instinctively identified nowadays with "Muslims", "Islamis", or "jihadist" fighters. Positionned as an "intermediate actor category, lost between local rebels, on the one hand, and international terrorists, on the other", foreign fighters have become a distinct phenomemnon characterized by a series of mostly untested assumptions as insurgents and as a potential terrorist threat. This chapter reviews the phenomenon of foreign fighters in NIAC and the relevance of nationality under applicable international law.
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