ISIS: A Continual Menace

ISIS: A Continual Menace

Maggie Leone '17 and Grace Doerfler '18, Sports Editor and Staff Writer

With beheadings, burnings, and brutal acts of terror, the work of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants has been plastered across international headlines for months now. In fact, it seems as though ISIS is becoming bolder and more powerful than ever, despite general reactions of horror and fear at the organization’s work. There are countless heartrending stories from camps of refugees in the Middle East. Parents’ children have been kidnapped with unknown fates. One man was forced to dig his own grave; another watched a friend die; still another saw his seven-year-old son murdered. The trauma felt by Iraqis is immense, and they fear what’s coming next.

On Tuesday, London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed that three teenage British girls suspected of traveling to Turkey are believed to have reached their true destination – Syria.  The authorities have reason to believe that these girls departed from England with the intent of joining ISIS.  The parents of the teenagers are devastated, begging their daughters to return home, but so far there has been no result.  Before the girls left for Turkey they are said to have contacted a young Scottish woman who went to Syria in 2013, as well as attempting to recruit others to ISIS through social media.  How a trio of unaccompanied minors was permitted through airport security onto a flight to Turkey is unknown.  The route they took is a known route to Syria, so how did they pass through virtually unnoticed?

The British girls are not alone in their journey. An estimated 20,000 foreigners have left their homes and joined ISIS’s ranks. Thousands of people have streamed across the 500-mile border that Syria and Turkey share over the past two years; Turkey is notorious for its permeable borderline. Although Turkey tightened security measures a few months ago and has reported thousands of deportations of would-be rebels since then, hundreds of people have found passage to ISIS through Syria. It is believed that ISIS has seized control of the biggest routes to the Levant. The three British teenagers are among those who have used Turkey as a highway to join jihadists in Syria.

As of right now, ISIS proves to be a dangerous and ruthless force: its numbers are growing, and its actions are growing bolder and crueler. Currently leaders in Iran, the United States, and other world powers, joined by Pope Francis, protest ISIS’s methods and work to find possible solutions. Hopefully  ISIS’s forces will fade soon — some believe that the organization’s brutal tactics will ultimately bring them down — and make the world monumentally safer.  As world leaders continue to work together to stop ISIS, the threat they pose gains global awareness, and in time, perhaps their merciless grip on the Middle East can be eliminated.