Michael Weiss reports: “As-salāmu ʿalaykum. Je m’appelle Abu Omar al-Firansi.”
Our new age of sacred terror is multilingual, and yet I was still surprised to click on the video showing a young man covered with a mustard-colored scarf, only his eyes and forehead visible, delivering his confession. “I advise you not to come here,” he concludes after a lengthy disquisition. “Never in my entire life have I experienced such humiliation, injustice, and segregation as I have had to endure here.” Abu Omar al-Firansi, a French national, has just deserted from the so-called Islamic State.
His recounting of his time as an ISIS jihadist was apparently filmed in northern Aleppo around six weeks ago in a safe house belonging to an unnamed smuggler he paid to transport him out of Syria and into Turkey. The footage, which apart from al-Firansi’s shrouded face features only a nondescript tile wall background, was shared exclusively and for the first time with The Daily Beast and was shot by a member of Ibn Awa, a new and as-yet-unpublicized anti-ISIS activist collective, with what appears to be a broad network in the Syrian eastern provinces of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. [Continue reading…]