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Syria: ‘Nobody wants us. I don't blame them’ – German IS member in SDF detention camp11:02

Syria: ‘Nobody wants us. I don't blame them’ – German IS member in SDF detention camp

Syrian Arab Republic, Qamishli
April 5, 2019 at 17:38 GMT +00:00 · Published

German citizen Lukas Glass recalled his story on how he became a member of the so-called Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL/ISIS), left his home to live in the self-proclaimed Caliphate in Syria, and the course of events that led to his disillusionment and decision to surrender to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

In an exclusive interview filmed for Ruptly at an SDF camp for IS members near Qamishli in Syria's Jazira region on Monday, Glass said "after these crimes committed by IS, nobody wants us. I don't blame them."

Glass, who is 23 years old and originally hails from Dortmund, converted to Islam when he was 15 years old.

"Since I was 12, I've thought about a lot of things, what happens after the death? What is the meaning of life? Why did god create us, these kinds of things. I was looking for an answer. I found my answer in Islam," Glass said.

Glass married his wife, who also converted to Islam, in June 2014. Only a month later they began their journey to Syria with the help of a "smuggler" and entered Syria through Turkey. His two children were both born in Syria.

When asked about his employment within the Islamic State, Glass explained that while he was assigned to an armed brigade in northern rural Aleppo, he was walking with crutches at the time, so was spared from serving combat role and instead worked security. Glass "worked in this brigade for a year and a half," but when the Free Syrian Army began to attack areas in northern rural Aleppo, he asked to be reassigned again.

Glass explained his life in Raqqa was "pretty normal. I went to work at the police station every morning, then I would go back home. It was a really normal thing."

It was in Raqqa that Glass began to question his allegiance to the so-called Islamic State, after witnessing what he called "a lot of injustices. Not just injustices, mistreatments against Muslims and non-Muslims, the prisoners, too."

Glass then recalled how he saw a man being beheaded, who IS authorities accused of "dealing with the regime" and planting GPS chips at a mosque, allegedly costing the lives of some 500 people.

"After it was clear to me that there were many and grave encroachments, I left the Islamic State," Glass added, explaining that this came after he had worked in the police unit in Raqqa for about three months. He said that he had the liberty to leave whenever he wished, but that on doing so he stopped receiving a stipend. Glass then went on to live a civilian life in Abu-Kamal, Hajeen, and Sousa before leaving IS territory to surrender to the SDF.

"Everybody knows, if someone surrendered to the regime, they are tortured to death, and in Iraq too. Right? I had wanted to leave for a long time and I couldn't. So the only way was for me to surrender to the Syrian Democratic Forces," Glass said.

Glass claimed that the Islam he learned in Germany and later on IS territory was not "true" Islam, adding "I learned Islam through the publications by terrorist groups."

Speaking about his future, Glass said that he hopes he and his family can to return to Germany, and after leaving jail, to live a normal life. He said this was a common feeling amongst other foreigners who joined IS. When asked if he knew that their homelands did not want them to return, Glass said:

"Nobody wants us. After these crimes committed by IS, nobody wants us. I don't blame them."

"Everybody makes mistakes. Those who admit their mistakes later are better than those who stay in the wrong… we committed those mistakes and we are responsible for them. Now, we are being punished, because we deserve this punishment," Glass added.

Ruptly has not been able to verify the authenticity of the statements made by Glass and his account only provides his own personal perspective on events. This interview was conducted in Arabic, and a German version is also available.

Syria: ‘Nobody wants us. I don't blame them’ – German IS member in SDF detention camp11:02
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Description

German citizen Lukas Glass recalled his story on how he became a member of the so-called Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL/ISIS), left his home to live in the self-proclaimed Caliphate in Syria, and the course of events that led to his disillusionment and decision to surrender to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

In an exclusive interview filmed for Ruptly at an SDF camp for IS members near Qamishli in Syria's Jazira region on Monday, Glass said "after these crimes committed by IS, nobody wants us. I don't blame them."

Glass, who is 23 years old and originally hails from Dortmund, converted to Islam when he was 15 years old.

"Since I was 12, I've thought about a lot of things, what happens after the death? What is the meaning of life? Why did god create us, these kinds of things. I was looking for an answer. I found my answer in Islam," Glass said.

Glass married his wife, who also converted to Islam, in June 2014. Only a month later they began their journey to Syria with the help of a "smuggler" and entered Syria through Turkey. His two children were both born in Syria.

When asked about his employment within the Islamic State, Glass explained that while he was assigned to an armed brigade in northern rural Aleppo, he was walking with crutches at the time, so was spared from serving combat role and instead worked security. Glass "worked in this brigade for a year and a half," but when the Free Syrian Army began to attack areas in northern rural Aleppo, he asked to be reassigned again.

Glass explained his life in Raqqa was "pretty normal. I went to work at the police station every morning, then I would go back home. It was a really normal thing."

It was in Raqqa that Glass began to question his allegiance to the so-called Islamic State, after witnessing what he called "a lot of injustices. Not just injustices, mistreatments against Muslims and non-Muslims, the prisoners, too."

Glass then recalled how he saw a man being beheaded, who IS authorities accused of "dealing with the regime" and planting GPS chips at a mosque, allegedly costing the lives of some 500 people.

"After it was clear to me that there were many and grave encroachments, I left the Islamic State," Glass added, explaining that this came after he had worked in the police unit in Raqqa for about three months. He said that he had the liberty to leave whenever he wished, but that on doing so he stopped receiving a stipend. Glass then went on to live a civilian life in Abu-Kamal, Hajeen, and Sousa before leaving IS territory to surrender to the SDF.

"Everybody knows, if someone surrendered to the regime, they are tortured to death, and in Iraq too. Right? I had wanted to leave for a long time and I couldn't. So the only way was for me to surrender to the Syrian Democratic Forces," Glass said.

Glass claimed that the Islam he learned in Germany and later on IS territory was not "true" Islam, adding "I learned Islam through the publications by terrorist groups."

Speaking about his future, Glass said that he hopes he and his family can to return to Germany, and after leaving jail, to live a normal life. He said this was a common feeling amongst other foreigners who joined IS. When asked if he knew that their homelands did not want them to return, Glass said:

"Nobody wants us. After these crimes committed by IS, nobody wants us. I don't blame them."

"Everybody makes mistakes. Those who admit their mistakes later are better than those who stay in the wrong… we committed those mistakes and we are responsible for them. Now, we are being punished, because we deserve this punishment," Glass added.

Ruptly has not been able to verify the authenticity of the statements made by Glass and his account only provides his own personal perspective on events. This interview was conducted in Arabic, and a German version is also available.

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