Eastern Syria — They were lured by the dream of a utopian Islamic State. Now they're eating American-made rations and living out of a hole in the ground. They are the families and suspected fighters who fled the last village under ISIS control.
CBS News saw what is like a holding area until ISIS families can be moved on to camps. There is a good reason it's in the middle of a barren wasteland: anybody approaching can be seen from miles away.
ISIS militants have been caught sneaking out with their families and protesting their innocence. The men are separated from the women and children and interrogated.
When asked if he was an ISIS fighter, Hassan Saleh told CBS News "no," insisting he only sold sweets. One man said he was a simple food seller. Another said he was tortured by ISIS for texting his uncle.
It's hard to know who's telling the truth. U.S. and coalition forces are playing the vital role of weeding out ISIS suspects and taking them away. In the last two weeks, they've fled by the thousands as American forces and allies here tighten the noose on the last pocket of ISIS territory.
One woman whose husband was killed in an airstrike told CBS News she had nothing to feed her three children but grass. But she brought her family here from Iraq willingly and stuck with ISIS until the very end.
The only truly blameless among those here are the children, born under ISIS through no fault of their own.