By Adam Brown
By Adam Brown
Rabat – As the battle for Mosul continues, ISIS prisoners in Kurdish camps have spoken to reporters concerning their experience in ISIS.
The spread of ISIS over the Middle East has cut a trail of destruction. Most recently, the battle for Mosul has come to symbolize the turning point in reducing the power of the terrorist group. A report from BBC indicates that ISIS controlled territory has been reduced and their last true stronghold in Iraq, Mosul, is coming under direct attack from a U.S. led coalition.
ISIS, however, remains a real threat. Regardless of the outcome of the battle for Mosul, a large network of cells is still believed to be operating in Iraq. A recent article from CNN provides insight into how ISIS grew to be such a large threat. ISIS launched an attack on the Iraqi city of Kirkuk in October, viewed as a distraction from the conflict surrounding Mosul. Several ISIS members were captured and taken to a Kurdish run prison in northern Iraq. Here reporters were able to speak with them and gain invaluable first-person accounts of life as an ISIS fighter.
These interviews highlight the level of influence that ISIS still has in the region and how effectively they have been able to coerce people to their cause. CNN’s interviews at the prison reflect people from a wide variety of backgrounds and levels of educations. The article relates the stories of an illiterate carpenter and a university student, both persuaded to join ISIS ranks as fighters. As their stories are told, however, we learn that each man joined for different reasons. The carpenter joined after being promised, “A salary if he joined the so-called Islamic State” (CNN). Other people who were interviewed stated that the religious goals of ISIS appealed to them.
While it is apparent that ISIS is feeling pressured and is losing vast swaths of territory, they have proven that they’re able to recruit from many different groups and can successfully develop sleeper cells in cities such as Kirkuk. Even after the battle of Mosul is concluded, security forces will have a very difficult task in combating the insidious nature of the sleeper cell approach that ISIS has taken on.