ISIS WhatsApp messages show desperation to escape coalition air strikes
A batch of WhatsApp messages and voice recordings passed to The National shed light on the efforts of those still living in what remains of the ISIS caliphate to flee.
As the group’s once fearfully vast territory has waned to little more than a collection of backwater towns in Syria’s eastern desert, many have tried to find a way out, some to other rebel held parts of Syria, others to Europe. Despite the seemingly indefatigable propaganda output, many ISIS fighters it seems, were unwilling to fight and die over the final scraps of the caliphate, instead choosing to flee.
The messages, passed exclusively to The National, were obtained by coalition forces in a raid on a house in eastern Syria last month, they show a side of the group beyond the propaganda that implies business as usual in the caliphate.
In messages sent just last month, two men, speaking in a local Syrian dialect, discuss an attempt to escape from what remains of Isis held-territory in eastern Syria, smuggling themselves into Kurdish city of Hasakah.
“If you want to leave someone is going this Thursday, you can go with him. Others might leave too.”
His friend responds. “So far it is only talk. I am thinking about it, but going there is difficult”
The male in SDF held Hasakah warns the other still in ISIS controlled territory that Kurdish authorities are scanning the finger prints of all those crossing into Kurdish areas. He warns, “You can come to Hasakah, but they have to finger print you. Before you go to any district try to find someone at the criminal section so they won’t finger print you”.
“I’ve been trying for the past two hours, I can’t leave, if the patrol catches me they will throw me out, because I don’t have resident agreements or any approval to live in Hasakah”, he adds.
The security source added “They are not dedicated to the cause; rather, they want to escape to live another day. They are right to be vigilant about biometric testing devices – they’ve proven very effective in capturing ISIS members, especially foreign fighters.”
He adds “I feel imprisoned, around here it is different with the Kurds, they can stop me and question me anywhere.”
He also complains about being denied freedom in Kurdish areas. “No one bothers me but here with the Kurds, things are different, any patrol can stop me and insult me, you don’t know and at times they don’t even listen to you.”
Source: The National