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‘ISIS fighter’ defects after killing of Westerners

A former ISIS militant who spent six months fighting in Syria said he witnessed the executions of western journalists

Published: Updated:

An alleged former fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) said he defected from the militant group after witnessing the executions of Western journalists.

The self-claimed ex-ISIS militant identified himself as Abu Ibrahim and is believed to be an Australian national. He told CBS News in an interview that he joined ISIS because he wanted to live in a region governed by Islamic law after he converted to Islam.

But after witnessing the executions of Western aid workers and journalists, he felt the urge to return home and abandon the group.

“Some of the policies such as the beheadings of non-combatants, therefore innocent, some of those things I didn’t agree with,” Ibrahim said.

“My main reason for leaving was that I felt that I wasn’t doing what I had initially come for and that’s to help in a humanitarian sense the people of Syria,” he added.

“It had become something else. So, therefore, no longer justified me being away from my family.”

Abu Ibrahim said he spent six months fighting among the ranks of ISIS.

“A lot of people when they come, they have a lot of enthusiasm about what they’ve seen online or what they’ve seen on YouTube,” Ibrahim told CBS.

“They see it as something a lot grander than what the reality is. It’s not all military parades or it’s not all victories.”

During the period he spent in Syria, the ex-ISIS militant said he saw crucifixions and the stoning for the crime of adultery.

Abu Ibrahim appeared unmoved by the punishments he witnessed, which he claims are part of Islamic law.

“It’s harsh, it’s real but it’s the Sharia,” he asserted.

He also described the role of ISIS’ so-called religious police as a method to enforce the group’s regulations.

“Their presence which may deter any thieves or any bad behavior but also look out for things like music isn’t being played or women are covered up appropriately or that men are growing their beards,” he said.

In the same vain, Abu Ibrahim said that the daily needs of housing, food and allowances are provided for Western fighters by ISIS.

“Initially it was approximately $50 a month,” he said. “During winter it went up to $100 so people could purchase warm clothing or items for the house. They provided heaters for each house and for married couples they provide housing for them - furniture, the essentials.”

But deciding to exit the group seems to have had its consequences.

“The restrictions on leaving made it feel a bit like a prison in that respect that you couldn’t leave the state,” Ibrahim told me. “Myself if I was caught I would probably be questioned and imprisoned.”