After a humiliating defeat at the hands of U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, more than a thousand ISIS militants surrendered in the Iraqi city of Hawija, bucking the terrorist group's pledge to fight "to the last man."
Reports show that the city fell in three days, marking a stark difference from much more devastating battles like that in Mosul, which lasted nine months. For the Kurdish minority, this win comes with an extra sense of satisfaction, as Hawija was once the location of several Kurdish prisoner executions at the hands of the terror group.
According to Newsmax, ISIS is holding on to its last territorial region in Qaim, which sits on the border with Syria. Senior military leaders have begun to reach out to Iraqi military officials to negotiate deals before a complete surrender.
Unfortunately for ISIS militants, getting a deal is not likely, according to Captain Ali Muhammad Syan, who leads the screening program for ISIS fighters in the Iraqi city of Dibis.
"We tell them no way, no negotiations, turn yourselves in and we'll turn you over to the court, which will decide," says Syan.
The captain noted that he was also baffled at the number of ISIS fighters voluntarily turning themselves over.
"It's a really big mystery for me," Syan claimed. "Hawija held the toughest ISIS fighters, and I never believed they would surrender in this way. It's really weird."
U.S. forces are also noticing the trend of these odd surrenders as well. Lt. General Paul Funk, who commands a coalition task force in Iraq and Syria, said simply, "They're giving up. Their leaders are abandoning them."
It's not hard to believe. Recent reports have revealed many ISIS fighters aren't necessarily true believers fighting a religious war, but rather susceptible young men lured by the promise of money.
According to a recent New York Times story, one now-surrendered fighter said he joined for the $100-a-month paycheck, saying even that small amount was better than anything else around.
As battles grow long and tiresome, it seems as though the fight on the ground has reached a turning point, and it's only a matter of time before ISIS loses all of its ground territories. But while it might be the end of ISIS's geographical conquest, but to quote a lieutenant featured in the New York Times article, "They're just planning to go underground and make sleeper cells."
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