‘It was never my intention to join ISIS’: Interview with a former member

A former ISIS member going by the pseudonym Sherko Omer came from a privileged family in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. He went to Syria to fight in the uprising against Bashar Al-Assad and ended up joining ISIS.

I witnessed horrible crimes committed by ISIS. I was so stressed in Al-Raqqa that I thought of suicide on several occasions. I wanted to escape but there was no way out. Only when I was deployed to the Kurdish region did the opportunity come to leave and I immediately surrendered to the YPG [National Army of Syrian Kurdistan] forces as they attacked our ISIS camp in the Kurdish city of Serekaniye.

I was held for several months and finally released after all sorts of investigations proved that I had no part in any crimes. I had been assigned to work in as a communication technician but my two friends became ISIS fighters. They were deployed to A’zaz – and both have been confirmed as dead.

While with ISIS, I noticed that the field captains and commanders spoke fluent Turkish. I rarely heard them speak in Arabic. ISIS commanders in Raqqa openly talked about the best foreign jihadists crossing into Syria from Turkey. Once, I heard that some ISIS foreign jihadists had been stopped by the Turkish border guards and police, but such were the ISIS connections that they were soon freed and safely on their way to Syria.

The last time I talked to one of my friends on the telephone, he had had enough of the whole organisation and he too had witnessed ISIS killing innocent people. He said he was scared to make an escape because he had witnessed ISIS publically beheading its own members who had tried to run. [Continue reading…]

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