The delusion of ISIS crumbles

FILE - In this photo released on April 25, 2015, by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, young boys known as the "lion cubs" hold rifles and Islamic State group flags as they exercise at a training camp in Tal Afar, near Mosul, northern Iraq. The Iraqi military has announced an agreement Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015 on "security and intelligence cooperation" with Russia, Iran and Syria to help combat the Islamic State group. (Militant website via AP, File)

(CNN) – Thousands of people are packing up everything they have and trying to get out of the way.

The caliphate is a land of peace and plenty, this recently posted ISIS propaganda videos from Mosul would have the faithful believe.

People are coming and going, says this man, people are happy.  Ask those who have fled the city, however, and it’s a different picture.

Salim is waiting for security clearance from Kurdish intelligence officers at Dibaga camp south of Erbil, as yet another truckload of woman and children arrives. They escaped the ISIS-controlled town of Hawija, in central Iraq.

Ibrahim, from Mosul, didn’t want to show his face on camera. I ask if he’d seen the ISIS clips portraying Mosul as paradise.

In the beginning it was alright, he says. But then they started ordering around and killing people. Everyone is afraid of them.

Relief workers set up a school in the camp, but there are no classes here. The school now shelters hundreds of women and children whose menfolk are still in security detention.

When ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the re-establishment of the so-called caliphate on June 29 2014, he urged the faithful to settle in his realm. You will conquer Rome and own the world, he said. This is what has become of that delusion.

The war with ISIS has driven around three and a half million Iraqis from their homes.  As yet another generation of Iraqis grows up amidst death, destruction and displacement, the bitter fruit of a delusion that has ended in disaster.

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