Indoctrination by ISIS: Deir ez Zour, Syria (Highlights)

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October 2014
Deir Ez Zour, Syria

Foreign ISIS fighters in Deir Ez Zour declare their desire to confront the international coalition on the ground and personally behead them.

This rare footage provides a personalized look at the diversity and ideological determination of ISIS fighters. Some of the fighters originate from places as far flung as east Asia. Their fervor is matched in the Islamic State's efforts to spread their ideology amongst the local population, including children, using chilling mass execution videos.

Footage includes interviews with foreign ISIS fighters from east Asia and other places, footage of child indoctrination, fighters at prayer time, ISIS patrols and checkpoints, and more.

This footage was shot by a contributor who obtained approval from the ISIS media center to shoot video in the city. This footage was reviewed and approved by ISIS before it was delivered.

This is a highlight reel. A full 36:46 minutes of footage is available and provides more depth and detail.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This video was recorded by a Syrian contributor who is a resident of Deir ez Zour. He is not member of ISIS and has not sworn allegiance to the group. He obtained approval from ISIS to shoot video in the city and was escorted by an ISIS member while recording the video. He was required to submit the video to ISIS for screening and review. Some scenes were removed at the direction of ISIS before the contributor was permitted to distribute the final version of the video.

Shot List

00:00 – 00:12

A close up shot shows a billboard that reads: “The Islamic State congratulates the people of Mayadeen city for the establishment of the Islamic caliphate.”

The camera zooms out to show cars and motorcycles driving by an ISIS checkpoint below the billboard.

00:13- 00:22

Drivers slow down at an ISIS checkpoint. An ISIS fighter wearing combat fatigues and a knee-long shirt exchanges a few words with the drivers and shakes the hand of some of them before letting them through.

00:23 – 00:27

A close up shot shows an ISIS flag; the camera zooms out to show form below a fighter wearing desert camouflage fatigues standing to it.

01:17 – 01:25

An ISIS fighter recites the call for prayer. The fighter’s surrounding is pixilated.

01:26 – 01:36

Fighters pray inside a small room with the ISIS flag hanging on the wall.

01:37 – 01:46

Fighters drive around the town in a patrol car. Some of them have their faces covered. Two women wearing the niqab walk past the car.

02:28 – 02:51

A night shot shows an audience watching an ISIS propaganda film. Half naked prisoners of war can be seen on the screen, probably from the battle in which ISIS took over the regime-held Tabaqa Airport in the province of Raqqa in August 2014.

02:52 – 03:18

In the same location, man wearing a turban chants and children repeat after him:

“Oh man whose head is tied with a bandanna, where are you?

“All the tyrants are out there, but they do not dare to attack us. Oh man whose head is tied with a bandanna, where are you?"

“We defend [against the tyrants] with cars rigged with explosives, cannons and explosive belts. Oh man whose head is tied with a bandanna, where are you?”

03:19 – 03:24

In the same location, a close up shot shows one of the teenagers in the audience and the camera then zooms out to show a larger part of the crowd.

The speaker calls on the children to say Allahu Akbar (God is great).
The children shout: “Allahu Akbar!”

The speaker then say: “The State of Islam…”
The children complete his sentence, saying: “…shall remain!”


00:28 – 00:37

(A fighter with Southeast Asian features is standing among other fighters who have similar features; classical Arabic with a heavy accent).

“This is a malicious crusader campaign waged by America against the beloved Islamic State.”

00:38 – 00:49

(A fighter sitting in a patrol car; Arabic)

“If they have America and Russia and the infidel powers on their side, we have God on ours. Anyone with a mind should think about this: Who will overcome, God almighty or America and its allies?”

00:50 – 01:07

(A fighter sitting in a patrol car; Arabic)

“Only what God has written shall happen to us. Neither America, nor [the Saudi rulers] or the entire world will be able to do [anything]. Our morale is high. By God, we shall defeat Bashar [al-Assad] and America, and purge Saudi Arabia from [the House of Saud].”

01:08 – 01:16
(A young boy sitting on the sidewalk; Arabic)

“My brother was sitting there and the warplane bombed… First we did not know what it really was.”

01:47 – 02:28

(A fighter holding a Kalashnikov rifle sitting next to another fighter; Arabic with a North African accent)

“They believe that they are bombing us from above while we are below; nay, with God’s will, we are above. We rely on God, and God is above everyone. We are above their strength and their weapons. With God’s will, we are waiting for them to cut their heads off. Soon, we will conquer them. We will take them and their women prisoners and sell them in the slave market. God willing, they will be our slaves.”