FOUND AT AN ISIL TRAINING CAMP: BUNK BEDS, WEAPONS MANUALS, STEROIDS

found

(The Washington Times newspaper ) The bunk beds that fill the rooms sleep more than 80 ISIL recruits. On the walls, posters detail the components of Russian Kalashnikovs and American assault rifles.

One sign reminds the trainees that victory comes from long fights and pain — rewards come later: “Remember that we didn’t come for this life, we came for the afterlife.”

Spread across several large houses, the “Sheikh Abu Samaya Ansari Camp” was discovered this week by Iraqi forces as they pushed deeper into the northern city of Mosul, which Islamic State militants have been fighting bitterly to retain.

It is the first military training center that the Iraqi forces have found in the city since they began an offensive to retake it just more than six weeks ago.

Since then, the Islamic State’s grip on its most prized urban center in Iraq has slipped. But the group is still inflicting heavy casualties on advancing Iraqi forces, waylaying them with car bombs and street-to-street fighting.

The documents and learning aids left at the training center highlight the mix of guerrilla and conventional warfare tactics — combined with religious indoctrination — that make the group such a formidable foe. They show a detailed level of military planning and training, drawing manpower and expertise from around the world.

The sign for the training camp’s armory was written in both Russian and Arabic. A carbon-dioxide canister, probably for use in an air rifle for target training, was also marked in Russian.

Thousands of Russian passport-holders have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIL militants, making up as much as 8 percent of the group’s foreign fighters, according to Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency. Most come from the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region.

“This was an initial step for new recruits,” said Brig. Gen. Haider al-Obaidi, a commander with the Iraqi counterterrorism troops that retook the camp and interviewed residents in the area. “We think they were mostly Iraqi, with some foreigners. They were mostly training on Russian weapons, so maybe some foreigners were training them.”

Neighbors said the fighters did not interact with them.

“We’d see them go in and out, but they’d have their faces covered,” said Mohammed Muthafer, who lives across the street.

“This is my room; I watched them sometimes,” he said, pointing at his house. “But they covered all the windows.”

Buses would ferry recruits in and out, but their windows would also be blacked out so it was not possible to see them, he said. A building next door was previously used to house women, including a Russian and one from Tajikistan, he said, adding that suicide bombers would “party” with them before their final missions.

Since seizing Mosul 2 1 /2 years ago, ISIL has embarked on an ambitious program of state-building, complete with bureaucracy and thorough record-keeping. The documents that the militants left behind when they moved out more than a month ago shed light on the group’s inner workings.

One printed sheet detailed the equipment that fighters were told to take on operations. In addition to weapons and ammunition, each group should have two TNT mines and 10 molotov cocktails, it said, as well as a shovel, ladder, hammers and nails, and stretchers.

Fighters also were instructed to take two large smoke bombs, or four small ones, night-vision goggles and binoculars. The list continued in minute detail: a knife, torch, lighter, first-aid kit and small notebook and pen.

A set of dumbbells lay in a hallway of the center, and half-used packs of steroids in one room. In another, bundles of long, beige Afghan-style tunics and pants favored by the group were strewn across the floor.

One sign urged the “mujahid” to keep clean and quiet.

The recruits were apparently tested on their knowledge of weapons.

“Name the firing positions for a 7.62mm Kalashnikov,” read the first question on one exam that was left behind. “What’s the maximum range?”

Other documents detailed the health of fighters, noting their pulse rates and blood pressure.

It is unclear how old the recruits were, although Muthafer said the militants targeted young teens in the area. Since beginning to take ground in Iraq nearly three years ago, ISIL militants have tried to build their legacy by focusing on indoctrinating the next generation.
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The bunk beds that fill the rooms sleep more than 80 ISIL recruits. On the walls, posters detail the components of Russian Kalashnikovs and American assault rifles.
One sign reminds the trainees that victory comes from long fights and pain — rewards come later: “Remember that we didn’t come for this life, we came for the afterlife.”
Spread across several large houses, the “Sheikh Abu Samaya Ansari Camp” was discovered this week by Iraqi forces as they pushed deeper into the northern city of Mosul, which Islamic State militants have been fighting bitterly to retain.
It is the first military training center that the Iraqi forces have found in the city since they began an offensive to retake it just more than six weeks ago.
Since then, the Islamic State’s grip on its most prized urban center in Iraq has slipped. But the group is still inflicting heavy casualties on advancing Iraqi forces, waylaying them with car bombs and street-to-street fighting.
The documents and learning aids left at the training center highlight the mix of guerrilla and conventional warfare tactics — combined with religious indoctrination — that make the group such a formidable foe. They show a detailed level of military planning and training, drawing manpower and expertise from around the world.
The sign for the training camp’s armory was written in both Russian and Arabic. A carbon-dioxide canister, probably for use in an air rifle for target training, was also marked in Russian.
Thousands of Russian passport-holders have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIL militants, making up as much as 8 percent of the group’s foreign fighters, according to Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency. Most come from the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region.
“This was an initial step for new recruits,” said Brig. Gen. Haider al-Obaidi, a commander with the Iraqi counterterrorism troops that retook the camp and interviewed residents in the area. “We think they were mostly Iraqi, with some foreigners. They were mostly training on Russian weapons, so maybe some foreigners were training them.”
Neighbors said the fighters did not interact with them.
“We’d see them go in and out, but they’d have their faces covered,” said Mohammed Muthafer, who lives across the street.
“This is my room; I watched them sometimes,” he said, pointing at his house. “But they covered all the windows.”
Buses would ferry recruits in and out, but their windows would also be blacked out so it was not possible to see them, he said. A building next door was previously used to house women, including a Russian and one from Tajikistan, he said, adding that suicide bombers would “party” with them before their final missions.
Since seizing Mosul 2 1 /2 years ago, ISIL has embarked on an ambitious program of state-building, complete with bureaucracy and thorough record-keeping. The documents that the militants left behind when they moved out more than a month ago shed light on the group’s inner workings.
One printed sheet detailed the equipment that fighters were told to take on operations. In addition to weapons and ammunition, each group should have two TNT mines and 10 molotov cocktails, it said, as well as a shovel, ladder, hammers and nails, and stretchers.
Fighters also were instructed to take two large smoke bombs, or four small ones, night-vision goggles and binoculars. The list continued in minute detail: a knife, torch, lighter, first-aid kit and small notebook and pen.
A set of dumbbells lay in a hallway of the center, and half-used packs of steroids in one room. In another, bundles of long, beige Afghan-style tunics and pants favored by the group were strewn across the floor.
One sign urged the “mujahid” to keep clean and quiet.
The recruits were apparently tested on their knowledge of weapons.
“Name the firing positions for a 7.62mm Kalashnikov,” read the first question on one exam that was left behind. “What’s the maximum range?”
Other documents detailed the health of fighters, noting their pulse rates and blood pressure.
It is unclear how old the recruits were, although Muthafer said the militants targeted young teens in the area. Since beginning to take ground in Iraq nearly three years ago, ISIL militants have tried to build their legacy by focusing on indoctrinating the next generation.

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