Increasing numbers of foreign fighters seem to be giving up on the Islamic State as U.S.-backed troops seize more of the terror group's land in Iraq and Syria.
Among the expats escaping to Turkey: a man from Florida, The Guardian reported.
Kary Paul Klemen of Florida, Stefan Aristidou of London and his British wife all surrendered to border police in Turkey last week after spending more than two years in areas controlled by ISIS, according to the newspaper.
All three reportedly surrendered at the Kilis crossing in southern Turkey.
The 46-year-old Kleman arrived at the border with a Syrian wife and two Egyptian women whose spouses had been killed in Syria or Iraq, Turkish officials said. His recent whereabouts aren't exactly known.
Kleman had converted to Islam following a divorce from his first wife, then remarried and traveled to Syria with his new family in 2015, The Guardian reported. Kleman said he planned to assist with humanitarian work but upon arriving discovered that information that had led him to the country “was all a scam,” his mother said. His family later alerted the FBI he could be in danger.
Since reaching Turkey’s border, the American has been in contact with U.S. officials there and planned to reach the American embassy before coming home to the U.S., his family said.
But dozens of other foreign fighters also have escaped the region recently, many of whom were caught trying to cross the border. Some fighters were thought to have eluded capture and may have made it into Turkey anyway.
According to officials in Turkey and Europe, more and more ISIS operatives that joined the group since 2013 are now reaching out to their embassies and looking to come home. Other fighters reportedly have plotted to head to Europe, ratcheting up security risks for those countries.
Overall, 30,000 foreign fighters were believed to have originally crossed into Syria to fight with ISIS. Around 25,000 of them have since been killed, according to the U.S.
ISIS sources have admitted that the group’s numbers have dropped as a ground offensive has proceeded toward Raqqa, the group’s detoriating former stronghold in Syria.