Islamic State extremists in Syria have executed some 100 foreign volunteers who tried to leave the city of Raqqa, the hardline group’s de facto capital, Britain’s Financial Times reported Saturday.
The paper quoted an unnamed activist who opposes both the Islamist group and Syrian President Bashar Assad who said he had “verified 100 executions” of those trying to flee the service for which they volunteered.
Agence France-Presse, quoting the British article, reported that the Islamic State has formed a military police tasked with locating foreign fighters who do not report for duty.
This undated photo posted on Monday, Nov. 4, 2014 by the Raqqa Media Office of the Islamic State group, a militant extremist group, shows an Islamic state group fighter in Kobani, Syria. (AP Photo/Raqqa Media Office)
According to the Financial Times, the military police unit has raided dozens of homes and arrested the accused deserters.
Al Arabiya noted that many jihadists have become frustrated with recent developments including U.S.-led airstrikes in which the radical group aiming to establish a cross-border caliphate has lost ground.
“Morale isn’t falling, it’s hit the ground,” an opposition activist living in an Islamic State-controlled area told the Financial Times.
“Local fighters are frustrated. They feel they’re doing most of the work and the dying,” the unnamed activist said. “Foreign fighters who thought they were on an adventure are now exhausted.”
AFP quoted British press reports from October which noted that a dozen European volunteers who traveled to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State were being held prisoner after saying they wanted to travel home. Their complaint was they had been assigned to battle rival rebel groups, not Assad’s army.
Those who do return home potentially face arrest following regulations set in place to thwart homegrown radicals from joining the terrorist group.