Behind the Black Flag: The Recruitment of an ISIS Killer
Since the Syrian rebel leader Hassan Aboud joined ISIS, taking with him fighters and weapons, he has been behind a sprawling mix of battlefield action and crime.By C. J. CHIVERS, NYT
DEC. 20, 2015
Hassan Aboud’s practiced baritone belied the malevolence in his words.
“Oh Darraji!” he sang. “Our state provided us ammunition and sent us to assassinate you.”
That state is the self-proclaimed Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, the terrorist group that controls territory in Syria and Iraq and has recently projected violence to Ankara, Beirut, Paris and San Bernardino, Calif. A soft-spoken double-amputee sometimes carried to meetings by fellow gunmen, Mr. Aboud is an Islamic State commander who also directs a network of assassins, including those who killed Darraji, a former subordinate, with bullets and flame.
The recording of his singing circulated among past associates this year. A taunting dark requiem, it serves as evidence and confession. Mr. Aboud, who defected from Syria’s rebels to the terrorist group in 2014, was admitting to previously unsolved killings of former friends.
“We plucked Adeeb Abbas’s head,” he continued, naming another of his one-time deputies, blasted from a motorcycle by a roadside bomb. “We spilled his filthy blood.”
He then vowed to kill more, as a male chorus chanted to those marked to die: “We will liquidate every traitor.”