With all the publicity ISIS gets, there aren't many first-hand accounts from people they've taken prisoner escaping and living to tell the tale.
Through Hamody Jasim, a former Sergeant Major in the Iraqi military, Independent Journal was given a rare opportunity.
Jasim, the author of the Terrorist Whisperer, connected us with Master Sergeant Karam Saad, whom he served with during the Iraq War:
While Jasim was able to make it out in 2008, thanks to invaluable assistance with U.S. intelligence operations, Saad stayed behind. ISIS would take him prisoner six years later.
Saad shared his gripping story with Independent Journal.
To start things off, he brought us back to the day he was captured:
"It was June 10th 2014, and I needed to get some intelligence to Baghdad. At the time, I was keeping a low profile in Mosul, my hometown, which ISIS had just captured - and still runs today.
They were killing people, taking them prisoner, they were very thorough. As I was switching from my uncle’s house to my aunt’s around 11pm at night, ISIS caught me.
They had a roster of people in the Iraqi military, and asked if I was still loyal to Iraq..."
Then, he was taken to the prison:
"I was taught by some of the best U.S. Marine Corps instructors in the world, so I am trained to handle very tough situations.
ISIS would use electrical wires on my back. They would tie a bag off around my neck and fill it with water, all in attempt to get something out of me.
All they give you to eat is one piece of bread and one apple a day. But you’re so scared to eat it, because you don’t know if they poisoned it or not."
Saad then revealed a chilling detail about how ISIS would 'deal with' Christians:
“They tortured the sh** out of the Christians and some died in the process. They would take some and lock them in a kind of casket, and set it on fire from the inside.”
The moment Saad was in the hands of ISIS, he knew he needed to find a way to escape:
"I only spent three nights in prison. During that time, I paid attention to how many guards were on duty and any signs of weaker security.
The bathroom had a window with access to the roofs. In Iraq, the rooftops are flat, so you can jump from roof to roof. Every once in a while, ISIS would speed off in their cars in search of more prisoners, and only leave a couple guards behind."
"So I stole a spoon and turned it into a knife, with the intention to kill one of the guards. I asked him to take me to the bathroom. But as I was making my way there, I noticed another guard who had been left behind was armed with a gun, so killing was out of the question.
I went to the bathroom and managed to knock out the ISIS fighter and put him a rear-naked choke. Then I made it onto the roofs, and escaped."
But the reprisal for escaping was heartbreaking, Saad said. ISIS went back to his uncle's house, beheading him, his wife and their children.
After losing family members and escaping, Saad continued to fight ISIS:
He told us about what it was like to liberate areas where ISIS held sex slaves:
"We’ve liberated hundreds of sex slaves from ISIS. It’s the best feeling ever to save these girls. And it’s like you’re taking your home back.
It’s the most emotional moment as a soldier in your life. It hurts to see them jumping to kiss your boots. They treat it like a God has saved them, not a soldier."
Then, he took a major shot at the Obama administration for the way they're handling things:
"The airstrikes are not effective and there are really no functional operations. The coalition is bullsh**! They might get a couple good shots here or there, but for the most part it’s not an effective strategy.
In the future, I feel that the Republicans will be more effective to battle ISIS than the Democrats will. Since 1991, the Republicans have been better allies than Democrats. The Democrats have a stupid strategy. I had spent a long time on the battlefield with the Republicans politics and we've had way more victories in the fight.
Under the Obama administration, America is not taking this fight seriously."
Saad, who holds the rank of Master Sergeant in the Iraqi Security Forces, is still out there fighting ISIS on the frontlines. And we wish him the best of luck.