After listening to this interview with Mohamad Jamal Khweis, an American-Palestinian and captured ISIS fighter, it’s obvious the prisoner is just going through the motions in regards to the interview questions. Still, he doesn’t sound distressed, so I think we can assume he’s being treated fairly well. One might quickly notice that Khweis doesn’t sound particularly intelligent—more an average Joe. According to Khweis, he began his trip to join ISIS in December of 2015, bouncing around to several countries before deciding to travel with a woman (presumably a Daesh recruiter) to Mosul.
His “pilgrimage” to the Daesh ranks sounds eerily similar to that of the foreign fighters who travel to join the Peshmerga and YPG/YPJ: He meets a contact who provides him with proper connections, and through a series of contacts and taxi rides, they transport him to safe house where he is housed with several other foreign fighters for several days. He has to turn over his passports and IDs to his Daesh contact upon arrival. After waiting at the safe house, he is taken to another house where 60 to 70 people (primarily foreigners) are held, and there he waits for a week. After that, he and 10 other recruits are taken to Mosul for religious reeducation.
Khweis describes his trip to “sharia school” for indoctrination, where he says he found he did not agree with their ideology. He decided to escape around January, 2016, after spending some time living in Mosul. I find it a bit too coincidental that he chose to leave their ranks just as Daesh finds itself against the ropes in a losing battle, with Mosul under siege. How convenient that he would have a sudden change of heart at this particular point in the conflict and suddenly feel the need to escape.
He describes conditions in Mosul as “very strict,” with smoking being banned. Obviously these conditions are well known at this point, and anybody who seeks to join Daesh would know about the extreme rules they have in place. I believe he discovered that it wasn’t the glorious Mecca he’d seen in their slick shit media campaign and got cold feet, at which point he decided to chuck deuces.
(Featured image courtesy of thedailybeast.com)