WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States military dropped 60,000 copies of a graphic leaflet near the northern Syrian city of Raqqah that depict potential Islamic State recruits being fed into a meat grinder.
The leaflets, part of an information campaign to discourage people from joining the extremist group, were dropped in a canister by an F-15 fighter jet last week.
""The message of this leaflet is, if you allow yourself to be recruited by Daesh, you will find yourself in a meat grinder. And it's not beneficial to your health," said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman who released a copy of the leaflet Thursday in response to media requests. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.
The gruesome drawing shows seven young men standing in a line under a sign that says Daesh Recruiting Office.
A man with a monster face is beckoning the first man in line, who has a frightened look on his face. A second man is turning the grinder while appearing to push someone into the feeder tube. Two legs are protruding from the feeder, and blood is spurting out the grinder's other end. The meat grinder is labeled as Daesh, and a sign in the corner says "Now serving 6001." The scared young man appears to be dropping a ticket that says "6001."
Warren said this is the only leaflet he knows about.
U.S. military officials have expressed concerns that IS was winning the propaganda war, with its use of social media to attract supporters and recruits. A central theme that U.S. officials have tried to convey is the militants' brutality and violence, including to women and children.
IS has taken over large parts of Iraq and Syria. But the top U.S. military commander for the Middle East said Thursday that the group is "in a defensive crouch" in Iraq, and losing some momentum in Syria. The U.S. and other coalition members have conducted airstrikes on the group in Iraq and Syria.