This two-part PolicyWatch discusses how the jihadist group ISIS has gained a foothold in Syria. Part I outlined the group’s recent successes; this installment describes how it could face popular discontent if it attempts to enforce its socially conservative agenda or commit high-profile abuses.
Despite its successes in Syria so far, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has shown signs of past tendencies — such as killing individuals in cold blood — that alienated many supporters during the height of the Iraqi insurgency. This raises the question of whether popular resistance to ISIS could emerge in Syria along the lines of the Iraqi sahwa (awakening) movement.
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