London (CNN)Much has been written about the young men and women who join the Islamic State. We are familiar with their biographies and pathways, backgrounds and motivations.
But virtually nothing is known about those who quit: the "defectors" who didn't like what they saw, abandoned their comrades and fled the Islamic State. Yet their stories could be key to stopping the flow of foreign fighters, countering the group's propaganda and exposing its lies and hypocrisy.
For a short paper, I collected all published stories about people who have left the Islamic State and spoken about their defection. I discovered a total of 58 -- a sizable number but probably only a fraction of those who are disillusioned or ready to leave.
They are a new and growing phenomenon. Of the 58 cases, nearly two thirds of the defections took place in the year 2015. One third happened during the summer months alone.
The defectors' experiences are diverse. Not everyone has become a fervent supporter of liberal democracy. Some may, in fact, have committed crimes. They were all, at some point, enthusiastic supporters of the most violent and viciously totalitarian organization of our age. Yet they are now its worst enemies.
Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/21/opinions/isis-defectors-neumann-amanpour/index.html