ISIS prisoners in Syria
Thousands of suspected jihadists have been detained by Kurdish forces in Syria since the fall of ISIS. Brut. gained rare access into the prisons where ISIS fighters are held — this is what they told us.
Rare interview with ISIS members
Brut. got rare access to a high-security and heavily populated Kurdish prison in Syria where 5,000 alleged ISIS members are being held. We were able to interview two different prisoners. One was a 33-year-old male from the UK, and the other was a 24-year-old male originally from Belgium. They both moved to Syria in 2014 but feel different about their decision to move there.
When asked if they regret joining ISIS
“No, I don’t regret joining ISIS. I came here initially to help the people. That was my sole purpose, to help the Syrian people, which I did even when I was in the Islamic State. Every time the coalition bombs would happen, I would try my best to go dig the people out of the rubble. Every time I would be digging graves to bury the Syrian people. This was kind of my services that I could do, I did this. And I don’t regret this.”, stated the UK prisoner.
“Of course, I regret. I got really brainwashed. I was ISIS, I had the ideology, I was in the movie, thinking I’m going to take all the world.”, revealed the Belgian prisoner.
The prisoners are unaware of current events
Access was granted under two conditions: No filming the exterior of the prison, and no speaking to detainees about the news to prevent a revolt from happening. Prisoners aren’t aware of the death of ex-ISIS chief Abou Bakr Al-Baghdadi. It is unclear whether their home countries will request their extradition and whether they will be released. There are an estimated 11,000 ex-ISIS members being held in Kurdish prisons.
When asked about their future and families
“All it is, I just want to know if my family is alive. Nobody has ever given me this information.”, the UK prisoner said.