Several hundred suspected Daesh militants surrendered to local authorities after the militant group lost its last stronghold in northern Iraq.
The suspects were part of a group of men who fled toward Kurdish-held lines when Iraqi forces captured the Daesh base in Hawija, the official said, asking not to be identified, the Daily Star reported.
The report of militants fleeing, rather than fighting to the finish as in previous battles, suggested their morale is fading, said Hisham al-Hashimi, a Baghdad-based expert on Daesh affairs.
“They no longer seem to believe in the cause,” Hashimi told Reuters.
“Approximately 1,000 men surrendered over the last week. Not all, however, are terrorists,” said the security official in Irbil, the Northern Iraqi base of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
They handed themselves in to Peshmerga forces in the Kurdish-held oil city of Kirkuk, East of Hawija, he said, adding, “It’s fair to say hundreds probably are Daesh members, but that will be clear after the debriefs.”
The town of Hawija and surrounding areas fell on Oct. 5 in an offensive by the Iraqi government troops and popular groups known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.