Soldiers who promised to be martyrs for the Caliphate are surrendering “en masse,” according to Kurdish forces. ISIS fighters, they say, have been turning themselves in by the hundreds after realizing they won’t be fed or paid for their contribution to the cause.
“More than a thousand” Islamic State fighters have already passed through processing, The New York Times reports, and Kurdish authorities expect hundreds more, if their intelligence – gathered through interviews with those who have deserted their ISIS cohorts – proves correct.
Iraqi forces are moving quickly to oust ISIS from strongholds in Hawija, where ISIS once brutally massacred Kurdish prisoners; they say ISIS fighters are laying down weapons. Hawija itself fell in only three days; Kurdish forces told reporters in Iraq that ISIS soldiers gave up and ran after planting a handful of half-hearted booby traps.
When the Kurds caught up with them, the fighters clearly hadn’t seen a bathroom in a few days, or any sort of creature comforts in months, and many were starving – not that anyone felt sorry for them. Their biggest complaint, however, is that they weren’t paid, and the promises ISIS made in videos, about comfortable homes and plenty of lusty wives, just didn’t come true.
The prisoners turned themselves in to the Kurds, they reportedly told interrogators, because unlike their cruel Caliphate bosses, the Kurds weren’t likely to behead them in public as punishment for their crimes.
The Kurds told the Times that they don’t believe “this is the end” of ISIS, but both Iraq and the United States have been more aggressive of late, battling the soldiers of Allah back from democratic strongholds. With greater support from foreign powers, the Iraqi military has been better equipped to give ISIS the boot.