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(CNN) – As the world sees the brutality the militant group ISIS is carrying out on Muslims, Christians and anyone who does not adhere to their exact ideology, a defector offers a look behind the front lines at what the extremists’ end game is.
There is no sign here of the progressive city that Raqqa once was, now the seat of power for ISIS. Gruesome crucifixions, public executions for anyone who insults god, lashings for women who are not fully covered in the Niqab, beatings and imprisonment for keeping a store open during prayer time or selling cigarettes.
“To prayers, get to the mosque for prayers!”
Their inhumane brutality is felt daily not just here but across swaths of Syria and Iraq, now the so called “Islamic state”. There is a commission for the prohibition of vice, tasked with punishing anyone who violates regulations. This man, a Syrian in his 20s, defected from ISIS in Raqqa less than two weeks ago and still agrees with the ideology of ISIS.
“The main and principle goal of the Islamic State, that they tell their new members is that to establish an Islamic State that will encompass the Arab world and after that we go to other countries.”
Raqqa is ISIS central command, easily taken over by the organization after other fighting groups had already kicked the Syrian army out of military bases in the area. ISIS has now opened a logistics supply line that extends into Iraq.
“Raqqa is close to the borders of Iraq, and we saw lately that weapons were going back and forth from Iraq.”
Already drawing foreign fighters with estimates of several thousand from western countries.
“We are coming and we will destroy you.”
Heightening concerns across Europe, with the U.K. recently raising its threat level from substantial to severe. The defector claims these foreigners could carry out attacks when they go home, but that security measures in those countries make it difficult, for now.
“Since western fighters joined ISIS they consider their home country as infidels. If they have a chance, they will try to carry out attacks, because they think of it as an infidel country and it should be fought.”
It is also perhaps why a westerner was chosen to front the horrific beheading of journalist James Foley.
“It is possible that the goal was to project the image that a European, or a western person executed an American so that they can showcase their western members and appeal to others outside Syria and make them feel that they belong to the same cause. And that they too can do anything in support of ISIS in their respective countries.”
And there is also the internal indoctrination of innocent minds establishing more and more Islamic schools and altering education.
“Philosophy is prohibited, they canceled it as a kind of blasphemy. Many subjects have been canceled like music and even sometimes sports. All that has been canceled from the school curriculum.”
There is fear among people he admits, among those who don’t subscribe to ISIS’s ideology, but leaving is not a choice ISIS offers them.