ISIS defectors, key to group’s defeat


by Eileen Wisniowicz, Staff Writer

The terrorist organization, ISIS, is currently a major threat to the United States. After years of terrorist attacks and the struggle of strategizing combat methods for defense against ISIS, the U.S. may have discovered a key to defeating the terrorist group: ISIS defectors.

Lately, the United States has been seeing an influx in the amount of ISIS defectors as they escape for their lives. The Guardian reports that in Idlib, a governorate of Syria, there are around 300 people trying to escape, many of them Saudis. Several sources report that defectors say that a very small percentage of ISIS members actually believe in the message of ISIS, and that many want to defect.

The reality is that escaping the security forces of ISIS are close to impossible and the punishment if caught is death. To top that, the countries willing to take back these defectors are few and rare.

France, as well as other European states, have all expressed their plans of not supporting those who now want to return after realizing ISIS was not all they had been previously promised.

One ISIS defector said he was promised an ideal utopian society, but rather witnessed crucifixions and the stoning to death of a couple convicted of adultery, according to Business Insider. He continued to talk about his experience under the strict Sharia law. He pointed out that ISIS teaches their version of Islam and that if you object to teachings, you would be killed.

The New York Times examines a report from London urging governments to protect ISIS defectors like this man rather than imprison them. While some countries are still firm in their beliefs of not supporting defectors, the U.S. has started to incentivize ISIS defectors who cooperate with federal investigation.

The U.S. has noticed that by incentivizing defectors they are more willing to speak out about their experiences with ISIS, a potentially powerful weapon to fight the terrorist organization with. An intelligence officer interviewed by The Guardian said, “We have a more complete picture than we did.”

Even more so, Time magazine has the belief that the true reality of what ISIS is will help deter other Americans from joining the terrorist organization, which is a huge problem due to ISIS’s use of social media.

As for now, punishments for defectors are still severe, but perhaps with the continuing information the FBI is receiving from defectors, this might yet change.