Northern Syria – A 22-year-old Minnesota man who left the United States to join ISIS in 2015 and is now being held in a prison camp said he thought ISIS terrorism was fake news when he joined them but now he wants to come home.
Abdelhamid Al-Madioum gave an interview to CBS News from a prison where 5,000 ISIS fighters are being held, several of whom were American citizens.
Al-Madioum said he was recruited to join ISIS through propaganda videos sent to him on Twitter that explained that ISIS was actually helping Muslims
He said he joined ISIS four years ago hoping to become a doctor, CBS News reported.
“They gave me a blank check to buy whatever I wanted,” Al-Madioum said. “Here’s the thing. People like me that see this, don’t really believe the news.”
He claimed that he has been interrogated by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since he was incarcerated and was told he could be facing 15 years in prison in the United States, according to CBS News.
Al-Madioum thinks 15 years is too long and said he deserved to be forgiven now.
“Fifteen years is a very long time for mistakes you made coming to Syria,” he told CBS News.
Al-Madioum said he was also a victim, and pointed to having lost his right arm in a U.S. airstrike on the terrorist organization he joined.
He claimed he was never an ISIS fighter, as do many others inside the incredibly dangerous prison, CBS News reported.
Another ISIS fighter said he left his home in Chicago to join the terrorist organization in 2015, but he wasn’t looking for forgiveness.
“The choices that I made in somebody’s eyes are the wrong choices, so I face jail time,” the prisoner said.
He told CBS News that he doesn’t think he did anything wrong by joining ISIS.
“I just wanted to live under Islamic law,” he explained.
He is unrepentant for joining the terrorist organization but still wants to return to the United States.
“I’m going to die soon here,” he complained. “I am sick. I do not get any medical attention.”
A 17-year-old ISIS fighter from New York City told CBS News that his parents brought him to join the terrorist organization and now he is desperate to leave.
The Syrian militia would like to get rid of the thousands of ISIS prisoners that it currently has behind bars, but said their home countries don’t want the would-be terrorists back.
Prison guards told CBS News that many of the prisoners were extremely dangerous, and that there were fears that if they escaped, they would rejoin ISIS insurgents.
Guards showed CBS News video of a Sept. 13 prison break attempt made shortly after the new head of ISIS demanded prisoners be released and called for more attacks.
Prisoners pretended that one of their number had become ill, and when the guards went to check on the sick prisoner, they rushed the cell door.
The Syrian militia group that runs the prison told CBS News that if other countries won’t take back their own citizens, they should be helping with security to prevent a “mass escape” of dangerous prisoners from the facility.