Would-Be Jihadists' Letters Home Reveal Unhappy, Mundane Life in ISIS

ISIS fighter
A militant Islamist fighter uses a mobile to film his fellow fighters taking part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014. Stringer/Reuters

New letters, leaked to the French newspaper Le Figaro, have revealed that some ISIS volunteers are regretting their decision to travel to Iraq and Syria to become jihadi fighters after finding themselves stuck with the more mundane tasks involved in running the apparatus of the Islamic State.

One messages reveals that the author is unhappy with the duties he's been given, saying: "I'm sick of it. They make me do the washing-up," whilst another complains of the technological difficulties he has has had to face: "I'm fed up to the back teeth. My iPod no longer works out here. I have got to come home."

Interestingly, the third letter seems to appeal for clemency from the French government, writing: "I've done hardly anything but hand out clothes and food. I've also cleaned weapons and moved the bodies of killed fighters . Winter is beginning. It's starting to get tough."

It's been reported that the the relatives of the authors of these letters are working with lawyers in an attempt to create a way home for the fighters, and dozens of others, who feel they were "cheated" into joining the Islamic State.

One lawyer explained the problematic nature of such a task: "We have made contacts with the police and judicial authorities [in France] but it's a hyper-sensitive subject. Everybody grasps that the longer these people stay out there, the more they become time bombs when they return.

"But no one wants the risk of having an official policy to encourage the disillusioned ones to come back. What if one of them was to be involved in a terrorist attack in France?"

This is not the first time jihadist fighters have voiced disappointment at their treatment. Areeb Majeed, a 23-year-old from Mumbai who journeyed to Iraq to join ISIS returned to India on Friday and complained to India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) that he had to clean toilets as part of his duties. He disclosed that when he received a bullet wound he was initially refused treatment: "Only after I begged them, I was taken to a hospital."

Majeed also reportedly told the NIA: "There was neither a holy war nor any of the preachings in the holy book were followed. ISIS fighters raped many a woman there."

Mohommod Nawaz, a British fighter who was recently jailed alongside his brother Hamza Nawaz, after they returned from a Syrian training camp also revealed some insights into what fighting for the Islamic State actually entails.

While in Syria Mohommod sent messages to his girlfriend complaining: "Aint allowed to have a phone when training... cos I don't have it on me and I can't charge it without someone grassing me up [sic]."

A recent UN report found that over 15,000 foreign jihadists had travelled from 80 countries to fight with ISIS and other extremist groups, including 500 from the UK and over 1,100 from France .