Pentagon drops grisly leaflets in Syria

The Pentagon has dropped 60,000 leaflets warning people in the Syrian town of Ar-Raqqa not to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The leaflets depict a grisly image: An ISIS recruiting office with new recruits lining up to join, but then being put through a meat-grinder.

“The message of this leaflet is, if you allow yourself to be recruited by Daesh, you will find yourself in a meat-grinder that is not beneficial to your health,” said Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren, using a derogatory Arabic nickname for the group that means, "to trample underfoot."

The Pentagon said the leaflets were dropped over the town by a U.S. Air Force F-15E fighter jet on March 16, to dissuade new recruits living in the ISIS stronghold from joining. They were dispensed using a canister. 

The leaflets were developed by the personnel from the Pentagon’s information warfare arm, known as Military Information Support Operations, formerly known as “Psyops.”

In the leaflet, a sign with an arrow points to "Da'ish Recruiting Office," and ultimately to a meat grinder labelled "Da'ish." A television screen in the corner says, "Now serving 6001," and a scared young man in the front of the line has a ticket with that number on it.

Defense experts say the leaflets were aimed at trying to take advantage of reports of internal divisions in the group, such as disputes over Western recruits being treated better than locals.

"It's trying to set the stage for an internal uprising against ISIS," the Center for a New American Security’s Nicholas Heras told USA Today. 

The U.S. and coalition partners have conducted airstrikes near Ar-Raqqa, but this is the first time they have dropped the leaflets. 

— Updated at 4:47 p.m.