24 a civil resistance against extremism
At the end of the year 2013, our group was active in various civilian activities aimed at the promotion and spreading of a civil culture in the local communities in areas located in western Aleppo and northern Idlib. The presence of our group in those areas at that time coincided with an extremely high influence of Daesh’s ideology because it was attempting to divert the people and revolutionary institutions from their goals to attain its interests.
The Daesh’s message was slightly different from other radicals as it was more pronounced and clear in its objectives. Therefore, our group began to incite the local communities against the organization. This was met by a positive reaction from civilians, which would later evolve into clashes against Daesh after they urged and helped to pressure the military factions to take a step in order to drive the extremist organization out of that region.
After the success attained by our group, it became clear to us that the society was systematically being radicalized by the extremists. Therefore, we began the monitoring of their actions across Syria, from Dier Ezzor in the east to rural Latikia to the west. Their actions and the way they are structured is the same and they only differ in some roots based on their popularity within the local community, and to what extent they rely on the locals to maintain their control. This has also led us to adopt different strategies for each society, as we cannot use all tactics and methods in a specific area and apply them to other areas without taking into account the local environments and differences. After one year and a half of serious and continuous efforts, we in the 24CR have a clear stance on the importance of such work due to being close to the local communities.
The group of 24CR
The first 24CR-linked media network called DeirEzzor 24 was officially launched in March 2015. Now we have 16 teams with different specialties and objectives.The 24CR offers to each team its administrative independence in order to practice its activities without linking and mixing them with those of other teams for the highest degree of safety.
The 24CR offers to each team its administrative independence in order to practice its activities without linking and mixing them with those of other teams for the highest degree of safety. The varied activities of each team is due to the need for communicating with each specific section in the society. The 24CR provides all the necessary support and advice for the local youth willing to help counter extremism and promoting the 24CR’s ideas and activities. It also trains the youth on how to keep themselves safe in the virtual world.
Civil resistance as a strategy to combat extremism
Civil resistance is characterized by its ability to effectively reach the local communities by the employing of several activities adopted by it. It is also less costly in comparison with military strategies. According to our observations in Syria, the mistakes of military strategies which are embodied in massacres against civilians, might have a negative impact on the local communities and push them to join the ranks of the radicals.
The extremists also forcibly promote and spread the idea that these wars are not against the organization of Daesh or others, but they are targeting the Muslims, they are “Crusade wars”. The military mistakes play into the hands of the extremists who use them to propagate their ideologies.
The international coalition rely on multiple strategies in the fight against Daesh and the Nusra Front, as the military strategy is a top priority for them, not taking into account that the radicals have a dominance over local communities, where they seek to plant their extremist ideologies to turn them into ticking bombs societies; which would later pose a real threat, amid chaos and instability in the region.
We believe that our activities will be complementary and significant in the fight against extremism, and that the civil resistance should be among the top strategies adopted beside other strategies, and it should be offered all necessary means to attain its objectives to become an effective means to counter extremism.
After one year and a half of serious and continuous efforts, we in the 24CR have a clear stance on the importance of such work due to being close to the local communities. We have also noticed that the extremists are afraid of an awakening of the local communities.