ISIS video wages psychological war on Iraqi soldiers
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a breakaway Al-Qaeda group that seized large swathes of Iraq almost unopposed last month, has released a video warning Iraqi soldiers who may still have some fight in them that they risk being rounded up en masse and executed, Reuters news agency reported Tuesday.
The 30-minute video clip, which circulated during Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, sheds light on the tactics ISIS is likely to employ as it presses ahead with its campaign.
The video begins with an ISIS commander firing up militants with promises that paradise in heaven awaits them if they take the city of Samarra, which is 100 kilometers north of Baghdad and would be their next target in a southward push.
He tells them that God “made us proud when he permitted us to go to jihad.”
It was not clear where or when the video was filmed.
The militants are filmed standing over dozens of terrified, handcuffed Iraqi soldiers.
In the video, one fighter mocks a soldier for wearing civilian clothes over his uniform out of fear of being identified and killed. The soldier pleads for mercy, to no avail.
Then dozens of soldiers are led to a sandy desert pit. They are executed one by one – bullets from AK-47 assault rifles pumped into their heads.
Not satisfied that all are dead, an ISIS fighter makes one last round, opening fire again, one by one.
Others are led to the edge of a river. Each one is shot in the head with a pistol and then shoved in, the executioner standing in a large pool of blood.
After the soldiers are executed, the video shows fighters blowing up Shiite shrines or bulldozing mosques, as well as residents of the town welcoming fighters.
The video illustrates the thinking of the ISIS, which aims to redraw the Middle East map although it appears to have paused its territorial thrust for now in favor of consolidating recent gains north of Samarra, Reuters reported.