‘My iPod is broken, I'm fed up:’ French militant in Syria

A series of letters from foreign militants have given a rare glimpse into the lives of the fighters unhappy with their situation

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"I'm fed up. My iPod doesn't work any more here. I have to come back," wrote one Frenchman, complaining about his mission to fight in Syria.

A series of letters from foreign militants seen by Le Figaro newspaper have given a rare glimpse into the lives of the fighters unhappy with their situation, with some begging for advice on how to return home.

Others are unhappy with the duties they have been given to carry out.

"I've basically done nothing except hand out clothes and food," wrote one, who wants to return from Aleppo, according to Le Figaro. "I also help clean weapons and transport dead bodies from the front. Winter's arrived here. It's begun to get really hard."

Another wrote: "I'm fed up. They make me do the washing up."

And another letter revealed how one man is being sent to the frontline, despite his apparent objection.

"They want to send me to the front, but I don't know how to fight."

There are around 376 French currently fighting in Syria, according to The Telegraph. Of the approximately 100 jihadists who have returned to France, 76 are in prison, the newspaper added.

In its report, Le Figaro said it had been noticed that some of the French were beginning to want to leave.

"Everyone knows that, the longer these people stay there, the worse it will be because having watched or committed atrocities, they become ticking time bombs," said one lawyer, quoted in Le Figaro.

"But, when it comes to having a discussion about whether France is ready to accept repentants, no politician is willing to take the risk. Imagine if one of these ex-jihadis(ts) is involved subsequently in an attack?"

In recent months, Western states have recorded a spike in militants travelling to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has seized wide areas in both countries.

Other than the fact that most ISIS recruits are young and likely driven by impulse, the reason why they travelled to Iraq or Syria to join the “jihad” in the first place is due to their “sense of anomie” (a term for a sociological condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals) back home in the West, Hilal Khashan, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut, told Al Arabiya News.

“After spending time fighting for Daesh [referring to ISIS’s name in Arabic]in Iraq and Syria, they came to a conclusion that no matter how bad in their opinion their life was in the West, it still remains much better to what they are currently encountering,” said Khashan.

“This is a wakeup call for them, probably, and it might as well open new horizons for them once they get back… Western countries need to treat this phenomenon as a psychological case rather than as a criminal issue,” he added.

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