Tuesday afternoon on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” CNN international correspondent Ivan Watson interviewed alleged ISIS fighters in a makeshift Kurdish prison in Syria.
In the footage, the alleged ISIS members are blindfolded and led from their cells into a holding room, where they sit down to speak with Watson. The first man interviewed, Suleyman, said that he was a member of ISIS who was involved in detonating a car bomb outside a Kurdish base, and that he received the equivalent of $3,600 for completing the job.
“What is the idea that ISIS is fighting for?” Watson asked the man.
“We’re fighting for Islam and justice,” the man said, per the voice-over translation. “They were lying to us. They took advantage of our minds and our poverty.
Watson then spoke with a 19-year-old alleged ISIS member named Kareem.
“They gave us drugs, hallucinogenic pills that would make you go to battle not caring if you live or die,” Kareem told Watson, while holding up his shirt to reveal a large battle scar on his stomach.
“Why does ISIS cut people’s heads off?” Watson asked the boy.
“Whenever ISIS goes into an area, in the eyes of ISIS, the people there who don’t adhere to Islamic law are apostates,” Kareem said. “Everything has to follow ISIS’s way. Even women who don’t cover their faces, women would also get their heads chopped off.”
“What would have happened to me, if when you were with ISIS, you guys had found me, an American journalist?” Watson asked a prisoner named Jaber.
“With ISIS, you’re fate would be death,” Jaber said. “There are different kinds of death. They would torture you for sure. They might decapitate you, or cut off your hands. They will not simply shoot a bullet in your head.”
Watson concluded by saying there was no way to verify that what the men said was true, or whether they were “coached” in their responses by the Kurdish prison guards.
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