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Islamic State Faces the End

October 9, 2017
Plain English Version

At the Kurdish screening center in Dibis, Iraq. Photo Credit: Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

"Suicide or death" was the cry. Islamic terrorists would never surrender. That was then. Now is now.

Terrorist held towns in Iraq are being taken by allied forces. Surrender is the new normal.

What happened? The new prisoners talk. They say their cause was becoming hopeless. American air power was overwhelming. Their commanders said surrender to the Persh Mega Kurdish forces. They told them the Kurds are the soldiers who will not kill you.

The Iraq and Iranian troops are known to be less kind to Islamic State fighters

The prisoners say they were cooks and clerks in their army. Or they just arrived on the battlefield. They did not kill the enemy. They did not fight at the front. They saw no beheadings.

Their generals said surrender. It made some of them wonder? Did their leaders make a deal to save themselves? In the end, they were out of supplies. They were soiling themselves. They were hungry.

Each loss of a city brought more surrenders. Mosul produced few prisoners. Tal Afar more than 500. Now in Hawijah more than 1,000 in a week.

The prisoners stand noses pressed against a wall. Their hands bound behind them. Their shoes and belts are taken away. They empty their pockets. Many smell of neglect. They march in fours into a room for questioning.

A captor says they are no longer fierce fighters. The bravado is gone.

Kurdish intelligence agents are looking at videos of Kurds held as Islamic State prisoners. They were put in cages in the back of pick-up trucks. They faced beheading or being set on fire. The Kurds are trying to see if any of the new prisoners appear in the videos. If they are seen, they will be held for trial for war crimes.

Is this the end of the war? No, there are cities in Iraq and Syria still held by the Islamic State. But the trend is clear. The Islamic State is falling. Syria is still in the hands of the Russian-backed dictator Assad.

Waging peace is ahead. That may be harder than waging war. It should be less deadly.

Source: The New York Times October 8, 2017

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