As many foreign fighters are becoming disillusioned by the Islamic State's atrocious violence and are considering fleeing the conflict to return to the safety of their homeland, ISIS leaders are using death threats and imprisonment to force the fighters to stay
An unnamed source with "extensive contacts among Syrian rebel groups" told British newspaper The Observer that there are dozens of radicalized British fighters who want to return to the U.K., but are being held in the caliph against their will by other ISIS militants.
"There are Britons, who, upon wanting to leave have been threatened with death, either directly or indirectly," the source said. more >>
An Iranian woman hanged for murdering her alleged rapist left behind a heartbreaking message for her mother in which she asserts that "death is not the end of life" and that she trusts God with her future, even if it meant death by the Iranian court.
"Let's see what God wants," Reyhaneh Jabbari said in a voicemail to her mother several months ago. The Iranian woman was charged with the murder of her accused rapist and in jail at the time she left the voicemail—her fate had not yet been decided, but she knew that she could easily be found guilty and hanged.
"The world did not love us," she said. "It did not want my fate. And now I am giving in to it and embrace the death. Because in the court of God I will charge the inspectors, I will charge inspector Shamlou, I will charge judge, and the judges of country's Supreme Court that beat me up when I was awake and did not refrain from harassing me … I will charge Qassem Shabani and all those that out of ignorance or with their lies wronged me and trampled on my rights and didn't pay heed to the fact that sometimes what appears as reality is different from it." more >>
The battle for the key Syrian city of Kobane between Kurdish forces supported by a U.S.-led coalition and terror group ISIS has led to the deaths of over 800 people in the past 40 days, a Syrian monitoring group said Sunday. The real death toll is feared to be twice as high, however.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that it could document the deaths of 815 individuals, with more than half, or 481 of them, belonging to ISIS. Militants died in ambushes, bombardments, targeted vehicles, and other clashes in the battle near the Turkish border. At least 16 of the dead were suicide-bombers who booby-trapped vehicles in Kobane and its surroundings.
U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, who have been beheaded by the Islamic State militants, were subjected to severe physical torture and may have converted to Islam under duress, according to their freed cellmates.
Foley and at least 23 other western hostages from 12 countries were routinely beaten, subjected to waterboarding and starved for months, according to The New York Times, which interviewed five former hostages, local witnesses, relatives and colleagues of the captives, and a tight circle of advisers who made trips to the region to try to win their release.
The 23 prisoners were eventually divided into two groups. "The three American men and the three British hostages were singled out for the worst abuse, both because of the militants' grievances against their countries and because their governments would not negotiate, according to several people with intimate knowledge of the events." more >>
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the executive producers behind the Emmy-nominated "The Bible" series, are raising $25 million to help Christians displaced or affected by the ISIS terror group in Iraq, Syria and neighboring countries before the winter arrives.
"The Cradle of Christianity Fund" will be distributed through an established network of traditional church communities, according to the Institute for Global Engagement, through which the Hollywood couple have launched the initiative.
"This initial gift will be used exclusively to rescue those in immediate need while simultaneously beginning a process of restoration and healing through the documentation of both the atrocities inflicted upon their communities, and the stories of hope and courage found amidst such unspeakable tragedy," states the Fund's page on the Institute's website. more >>
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has announced that an inquiry is being set up into the high number of civilian deaths that occurred during the Israel-Hamas conflict over Gaza earlier this year. The inquiry will also investigate reports of Palestinian militants storing weapons at U.N. facilities.
"I look forward to a thorough investigation by the Israel Defense Forces of this and other incidents in which U.N. facilities sustained hits and many innocent people were killed," Ban said at the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, according to BBC News.
"I am planning to move forward with an independent board of inquiry to look into the most serious of those cases, as well as instances in which weaponry was found on U.N. premises." more >>