The civil war in Syria and the subsequent war against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups are clear examples of the complexity of modern conflict. The number of parties involved in their unrestricted forms of warfare and the fluidity of their organisations pose significant risks.
An essential tool in combating and prosecuting these terrorist organisations has been the 'follow the money approach'. Most terrorist organisations cannot raise enough funds to finance their activities and depend on external funding from wealthy individuals and sympathetic regimes.
Concerning the civil war in Syria, terrorist organisations received external funding via couriers in neighbouring countries.
However, foreign funders know that their activities are illegal and try to hide both the financing itself and the nature of the financed activity, making it difficult to uncover or prove.
Ultimately, these foreign funders contribute to the destructive capability of terrorist organisations and thus are implicated in the suffering of innocent civilians and reputational and economic damage for legitimate businesses. Their contribution enables acts of terror and is therefore considered a 'sustaining dynamic' of terrorism itself.