Surviving ISIS

Ali Hussain Kadhim, an Iraqi soldier, tells his true story about how he survived one of the many ISIS mass killings


Imagine standing in a line with men you may or may not know with a gun to your head, waiting to face your death. Ali Hussein Kadhim, a Iraqi soldier and a Shiite, experienced one of the many mass killings by ISIS except for the fact that he survived. In an interview with New York Times, Kadhim said that the Shiites were “marked for death” because Sunni militants went seeking Shiites with the purpose of killing them. This past June, Kadhim stood fourth in line, surrounded by bodies, with a gun to his head. The bullet flew past his face, without shedding a drop of blood but Kadhim fell to the ground and played dead for four hours as he heard the lives being taken away from his fellow Shiites.

Kadhim told The New York Times that the massacre began with American-trained militants storming Camp Speicher, leading to Kadhim and his fellow comrades fled the army base because their officers were not there and they did not know what to do. This decision is now known as a terrible one because if they had stayed where they were, there is a great possibility that they would all still be alive today. Kadhim and his fellow soldiers tried to walk to Baghdad but they ran into ISIS militants who tricked them into thinking that they would take them to Baghdad. Instead, they spent the next three days killing people in rounds. It has been confirmed that 660-770 men were killed during those three dreadful days. Once the massacre at Camp Speicher was over, ISIS claimed that they killed 1,700 Shiite soldiers which seemed accurate to Kadhim

After those four dreadfully long hours passed, night had fallen, giving him his only opportunity to leave ISIS alive. He ran towards the Tigris River where he met an injured man named Abbas who was a driver at Camp Speicher and had been shot by militants. Kadhim, the sweet man that he is, stayed with Abbas for three days. While Kadhim planned his escape, Abbas told him to “Let everyone know what happened here” if he died there by the bank. After Mr. Kadhim left the riverbank, he spent three weeks trying to get home by using the underground journey through “insurgent badlands” and with the help of sympathetic Sunnis.
When Kadhim found a cluster of houses, he met a Sunni family that gave him “his first proper meal in days”. Kadhim then went to Al Alam, the home of a Sunni tribal sheikh, where Khamis al-Jubouri made a underground system to Shiite soldiers to flee from ISIS. Kadhim stayed with the Sheikh for two weeks when he was told he was safe to go to Erbil where he would meet his Uncle. By the time he was with his family, he had lost weight and had a thick beard but all he could think about was how happy he was to be with the people he loves.

Mr. Kadhim is one of the only people to not only survive but also have a detailed description of what happened during and after the June massacre at Camp Speicher, a former American army base in Tikrit. His story gives people all around the world a different side of ISIS brutality besides the videos of the multiple beheadings that have scared many people. Kadhim’s story shows readers and the government that they need to get rid of ISIS so that no one will have to witness the tragedy and horror that Kadhim experienced.