Special Forces Inch Forward Amid Isis Suicide Attacks In Iraq
Iraqi special forces are still facing deadly suicide bomb attacks driven at them by fighters choosing death over surrender as they inch forward. Few prisoners have been taken in the fight for Mosul.
Throughout the conflict it has been very difficult to know what's going on in the minds of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters. Most of them have chosen to kill themselves in suicide attacks. Among the limited number of captured ISIS fighters, some are kept in a heavily fortified compound in Hawija, west of Kirkuk.
Issa Qasem Mahoud was taken by the Iraqi soldiers in the compound ten days ago.
The man, originally from Hawija, admitted he was an ISIS fighter.
But he said he had no choice. He was forced to fight since Islamic State took control in 2014.
He claimed he had run away to escape and that he has never killed. Nonetheless, he said he feels remorse.
"Yes, I feel so guilty. How could I not. I feel remorse and responsible for what I did. I left them when I saw what they were doing. They don’t have forgiveness. They were killing old people; they killed kids; they killed women," said Issa Qasem Mahoud.
But his eyes seem to tell a different story. What he says is inconsistent and changes during the interview.
The military intelligence said he was part of a sleeper cell hidden behind enemy lines.
He will be given a trial and the right to a defense, but if he is found guilty, he will face the hangman noose.
Brig General Sarhad Qadir Mohammad, Commander of Kirkuk Forces, said Iraqi special forces are now facing a number of deadly suicide truck bombs driven at them by fighters choosing death over surrender.
So the commander of Kirkuk’s security forces has paid a heavy price in the fight against the militants.
The General showed many photos of comrades-in-arms, including his brother, who died in the fighting.
But he insists he treats his prisoners with respect, in a humane way, not seeking revenge.
As ISIS-controlled Mosul has been strangled, the fighters have moved down to the south where they grow in strength.
"ISIS has become stronger not weaker. Before the Mosul offensive, we had 1,000 fighters against us, but now there are 2,000. Before there were 50 suicide bombers, but now there are 100," said Sarhad Qadir Mohammad.