Well, we spoke with them in standard Arabic but they did not mention anything about IS until we were at the training camp. They talked against the regime as a machinery killing its own Muslim people and we had already heard that from FSA on TV. Moreover, they had no beards, dressed in modern clothes and even took us to a hotel in the Turkish city of Kilis. We therefore assumed that they were FSA not IS, as did many others who came to Turkey to join the Syrian opposition but joined us at the IS camp.
Not true for the camp I was at, where beheading training was practiced with chickens and other animals. I did not do it because when we arrived they asked for my skills and qualifications and because I am a technical professional and I had qualifications, I was assigned to technical works and trained with pistols and lightweight weapons. This is because my main duty was to learn the communication equipment, interception of enemy phone and radio lines as well as rescuing digital gadgets and archives during attacks. I never engaged in a fire fight and this was the precise reason why Kurdish YPG fighters agreed to hand me back to my family after months of investigations.
Yes, of course. We were told that as martyrs we would have 72 eternal virgins in heaven and we can save dozens of our close relatives from hell too.
So, IS promises its’ recruits 72 virgin angels and you are saying this is not “anti-Islamic propaganda” as some people may otherwise claim?
We were promised women in heaven and on earth too based on IS jihadist teaching of the verses of some Suras of the holy book of Quran and hadiths by prophet Muhammad, all of which were explained through the Tafsir (explanation) by Islamic scholars like Ibn Majah, Bukhari and Ibn Kathir. We were told all non-Muslim women prisoners will be our wives and God wills it.
So IS jihadists could just take women prisoners and sleep with them against their will, which the world considers rape?
What did you witness in Al-Raqqa?
I decided to risk my life to escape after I witnessed a wounded captured Kurdish YPG fighter publicly beheaded. He was about my age, but unlike me he was extremely brave. He spat on every jihadist around him. He shouted slogans about Kurdish freedom and Abdullah Ocalan. I had never seen anyone so brave in my life. His fingers were cut yet he shouted insults against the jihadists. He was finally beheaded from behind to suffer and salt was put on his half-cult neck to die in agony but he did not give up until he painfully died this way. Children too were present at the public execution. However, I felt very sick afterward and did not sleep for a week thinking I am either going to runaway or kill myself, but thank God the chance came soon afterward in the city of Serekaniye.
My commander said Kurdish YPG was an infidel secularist army and impure, arguing that each jihadist has the duty to first purify his own people and if we were all pure then infidels would not exit. The commander and others too gave me examples of Palestine and Israel as well as Kosovo and Serbs. They told me jihadists should first fight impure Muslims of Palestine and Kosovo to purify them and this way Israelis and Serbs would not exist. This was argued against my Kurdish people too. I joined a new battalion; we went back to Turkey and crossed the Turkish border to enter Serekaniye.
And what about the Ceylanpinar Turkish border post that is heavily controlled by Turkish soldiers?
(“Sherko Omer” is a pseudonym. His real identity has been kept secret for security reasons. The views expressed are his own.)