Documents said to contain the names and personal details of thousands of Islamic State supporters and recruits are being examined by western spy agencies.
The documents are said to have been released to news agencies by a former Free Syrian Army fighter and Islamic State deserter who claimed to have stolen a memory stick containing the information from the ISIS internal security police.
The information supposedly includes names, addresses, phone numbers and family connections of 22,000 ISIS volunteers.
It is not yet clear if the documents are genuine, and there are conflicting reports about how many names were supplied. US, British and German intelligence organisations are now sifting through the material in search of information that may help them bring down ISIS. Intelligence sources suggested some of the people named have already been killed while fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq
The documents are understood to be recruiting questionnaires and may contain useful links to recruiters resident in the West. Some analysts remain sceptical, pointing to inconsistencies of language usage in some documents released by the news agencies.
Charlie Winter, a Georgia State University researcher into violence and conflict, has said it is not uncommon for such discrepancies to flag forgeries. “There would be big alarm bells for me,” he told Agence France-Presse.
A Syrian news site, Zaman al-Wasl, said the figure of 22,000 names was greatly exaggerated. – Ben Rochlin
Photo of ISIS parade from the extremist group’s propaganda magazine, Dabiq.