According to reports, the Islamic State (ISIS) is leaving behind bombs in the homes of cities it is being forced to flee due to the advance of Kurdish forces.
In recent days, good news has come from the Middle East, as Kurdish Peshmerga troops have pushed ISIS fighters out of towns they were occupying. Most recently, Kurdish troops captured the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, cutting off supply lines to ISIS terrorists on the front lines and dealing a major blow to the self-declared “Caliphate.”
However, they seem to be leaving some nasty surprises for the victorious Kurds in the villages and urban centers from which they are fleeing.
In the Khabour region of Syria, 12 Kurdish fighters have been killed by exploding mines planted in homes ISIS had been occupying. Apparently, the mines have been planted in the bedrooms and bathrooms, probably to kill returning refugees. The villages where ISIS is leaving these explosives are primarily home to ethnic and religious minorities, and the intent of these explosive devices may be to continue ISIS’s policy of striking fear into the hearts of those minorities and, eventually, wiping them out.
“When ISIS is planting mines in field crops and homes, they are guaranteeing the extinction of these minorities. People can’t go back—there is no security,” Diana Yaqco, a spokeswoman for ethnoreligious minorities in Syria, said.
She also confirmed the media reports of suicide bombers hiding in the region.
When ISIS first took the Khabour region, they enslaved women and children from the Assyrian Christian sect prevalent in the area. Earlier this year, the terror group demanded a $30 million ransom for the 250 hostages they held captive.
“Property of the Islamic State” and “Your land is now ours, go to hell,” are examples of the graffiti ISIS fighters allegedly painted on the walls of the homes of Assyrian Christians after forcing them out of their ancestral land.
During a Wednesday night hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, painted a bleak picture of the U.S. effort against ISIS. Referencing the chaos overseas, Dempsey and Carter were not optimistic about a solution easily presenting itself.
“Enduring stability cannot be built from the outside in. Stability must be cultivated from the inside out,” Dempsey said.