ISIS’s reign in the Middle East may be coming to a close, according to one US general. This announcement comes after thousands of ISIS militants surrendered with their hands in the air after their leaders abandoned them, resulting in no food and no pay. This incident shows ISIS appears to be unable to defend their territories.
“They’re giving up,” said Lieutenant General Paul Funk, who heads a task force against ISIS. “Their leaders are abandoning them.” There has been a growing number of militants surrendering to Kurdish forces recently.
The surrender comes after a two week battle for Hawija, a northern Iraqi town, which has been an ISIS stronghold since 2014.
In a phone interview with USA Today, Funk said he was taken aback by the abrupt surrender. “The speed at which the enemy gave up surprised me,” he said.
Funk says those that have surrendered have explained why they gave up. “What we are hearing (from those who surrendered) is, ‘Our leaders have abandoned us, we haven’t been fed, we haven’t been paid.’”
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has reportedly tried to keep his militants fighting by echoing recorded messages throughout the city, but Funk thinks it is having little to no effect. “The day after the audio was released, several hundred fighters surrendered,” he said.
The Daily Mail reports that over 1,000 soldiers have given up in recent days. There are still 500 fighters unaccounted for according to intel. ISIS has had several of their strongholds taken from them in recent months.
After nine months of fighting, Mosul, one of ISIS’s most important locations, was taken by US-backed troops in July. The military has also slowly been gaining control of the city of Raqqa, the so-called headquarters of ISIS.
US intel suggests a third of the city has been taken by Kurdish forces. They expect to take the remaining portion of the city by the end of the year.
US intel reports there are still a few small towns and villages by the Euphrates River in Iraq that are controlled by ISIS, but many US officials have declared that will be the last stand of the terror group.