Iraqi Shi'ite fighters pose with captured ISIS flag (file)
Iraqi Shi'ite fighters pose with captured ISIS flag (file)Reuters

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi offered on Thursday an amnesty covering security forces members who fled the Islamic State terrorist group, provided they return to their units within 30 days, AFP reported. 

Multiple Iraqi divisions collapsed when an ISIS-led offensive swept through Iraq last June, overrunning large areas north and west of Baghdad.

In their haste to escape, some security personnel shed their uniforms and abandoned vehicles, weapons and other equipment, which the jihadists have since employed against government forces.

The statement from Abadi's office did not specifically mention ISIS, but the amnesty covers those who fled, were absent or harmed themselves to avoid service.

The amnesty specifically excludes those who committed offenses including crimes against state security, corruption and abuse of influence.

It was unclear if tens of thousands of so-called "ghost soldiers," who are on the payroll but do not show up for work, sometimes splitting salaries with their commanders, would be covered.

While Iraqi security forces performed dismally in the early days of the ISIS-led drive, they have since regained significant territory with backing from pro-government paramilitaries, a US-led coalition and Iran.