Nearly a thousand Islamic State fighters have surrendered to Kurdish forces after the terror group lost its last major city in Iraq, The New York Times reports.
Many of the dejected fighters reportedly have soiled themselves and await interrogation and trial by Kurdish authorities. The mass surrender of the terrorist group is particularly unusual for ISIS, who’ve made a point of fighting to the very last man. In many cases the group made the last days of battle painfulfor the opposing force by deploying waves of suicide bombers.
One fighter recalled to TheNYT that the ISIS governor of the town of Hawija himself gave the order to surrender in mass. “I believe if the governors are telling us to surrender, it really means that this is the end,” he lamented.
“The speed at which the enemy gave up surprised me,” Operation Inherent Resolve commander Lt. Gen. Paul Funk told USATODAY after the battle. “Their leaders are abandoning them.”
Hawija was the last stronghold the terrorist group in Iraq after nearly three years of pitched battle with the Iraqi Security Forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga, and Iranian-backed Shiite militias. Still, the battle against the terrorist group is not over yet in Iraq. Operation Inherent Resolve noted Thursday that the Iraqi Security Forces “are concurrently conducting operations in Western Anbar province and have already secured the towns of Anah, Rayhanah, and Akashat.”
The terrorist group is also mounting a losing campaign in Syria, where the majority of its capital has fallen to the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Much of its leadership and core terror planning personnel have now moved to the middle Euphrates river valley where U.S. commanders expect ISIS to make its last stand.