Now considered by many experts as the primary terrorist threat, the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, has been able to assert its dominance over wide areas of Iraq and Syria. In Syria IS dominance can be seen in the regions of the Euphrates Valley (Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and Hasaka) and in the eastern countryside of Aleppo. Apart from these areas, the Province of Homs represents a particularly interesting case study, because of the fact that the IS is expanding there, but has been unable to establish its authority over all rebel forces.
This study was conducted using data available over the Internet, including websites, social networks (Facebook and Twitter), and online video-sharing platforms. This information was later extended through interviews with university figures, European humanitarian workers and field actors, including sympathisers and sometimes even assumed IS members.