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Iraqi Militia Lets Instagram Vote On The Fate Of Captured ISIS Fighter

REUTERS/Rodi Said

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in Iraq allowed Instagram to vote on the fate of a captured Islamic State fighter. The Internet showed no mercy.

ISF soldiers, who appear to go by the name Iraqi SWAT, used the @iraqiswat Instagram account to allow followers to vote on killing or releasing the captured ISIS fighter. The initial picture shows a bloodied and beaten ISIS fighter being held by several men who are believed to belong to one of the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) which operate under the ISF umbrella.

“We have arrested one of ISIS in south of Mosul,” says the Instagram post. “You can vote for for (kill him or let him go).” Iraqi SWAT gave followers one hour to vote, encouraging followers to “tag your friends and take your right, take your reveng (sic) from ISIS right now.”

After posting the picture, several people responded with “kill.”

Approximately two hours later, one of the Iraqi SWAT members posted a selfie with what appears to be the captured ISIS member in the background, laying in a pool of blood. “Thanks for the vote,” said the caption.

Adam Linehan, a former U.S. Army combat medic and writer for the Task & Purpose, wrote in a piece Monday social media has become a crucial tool for both sides of the fight against ISIS. The “trial by Instagram,” gives people the feeling that they have a direct role in the fight against ISIS, he noted.

“In theory, a guy on the toilet in Omaha, Nebraska, could emerge from the bathroom with the blood of some 18-year-old Syrian on his hands,” wrote Linehan.

Iraqi forces, backed with U.S. military support, began an operation to retake Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul last week. The siege is expected to last for some time and is believed to be the largest undertaking the ISF has undertaken in the fight against ISIS thus far.

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