Arthur about the unexpected encounter with two young fighters of IS.
East Front of Raqqa, August 16th 2017
Follow-up of the previous post.
In the afternoon of May 27th, I was getting off the roof where I had been on guard, overlooking the city of Mansoura, and walking towards the kitchen of the house where my tabûr had settled.
My throat was burning with thirst, and I started to hastily drink water from the tap (which is rarely a good idea for western stomachs, which turn out to be so fragile when confronted with the tough bacterias of the Middle East). Only when I was about to leave the room, I realised I wasn’t alone in the kitchen: two persons were sitting at the back of the room, their hands were tied together, and their eyes covered with bandages.
A bit unsettled, I asked a comrade about them, with my little knowledge of Kurdish. The answer couldn’t be clearer: they were two captured soldiers of Daesh. Who were they? Foreign volunteers? Syrians? How did they get into this?
A multitude of questions rushed through my mind.
At lunch time, a young comrade loosened their ties, and as a consequence of the encounter that followed, many fantasies crumbled away. Actually, the two captured soldiers turned out to be teenagers, children even! One was about 12 or 13 years old, the other one 14 or 15. Their sunken eyes looked terrorised. What kind of propaganda does the caliphate make us swallow? We tried to reassure them by giving them something to eat. Strange moment. They were just two young villagers who had been recruited by Daesh which was using them as fighters to oppose our advancing troops. I brought them some water. The curiosity I had been feeling during all this time now suddenly seemed obscene, once I was facing the most trivial reality of war.
This first -unexpected- encounter was interrupted by the arrival of another unit. We left the place to them. The night was getting closer, and our troops were to leave for an operation this same evening.