[Ed. – Light at the end of the tunnel?]
Several hundred suspected Islamic State fighters surrendered last week to Kurdish authorities after the militant group lost its last stronghold in northern Iraq, a security official said on Tuesday.
The suspects were part of a group of men who fled toward Kurdish-held lines when Iraqi forces captured the Islamic State base in Hawija, the Kurdish official told Reuters, asking not to be identified.
The report of militants fleeing, rather than fighting to the finish as in previous battles, suggested their morale may be fading, said Hisham al-Hashimi, a Baghdad-based expert on Islamic State affairs.
“They no longer seem to believe in the cause,” Hashimi told Reuters.
Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released an audio recording two weeks ago that indicated he was alive, after several reports he had been killed. He urged his followers to keep up the fight despite setbacks in Iraq and Syria.