By Alexander Higgins
A British photographer who was captured by insurgents in Syria has said that his captors were foreign extremists including several Britons with “not a Syrian in sight”.
Last week I reported on shocking revelations from a UK journalist captured by terrorists in Syria who
Radical Islamists with ‘British accents’ are fighting alongside the Syrian terrorists says a journalist held hostage by rebels for over a week.
Oerlemans, a famous Dutch photo journalist, and John Cantlie, another photographer from the UK, were captured by a group of between 30 and 100 anti-Assad fighters when crossing the Syrian border from Turkey last week. They were then blindfolded.
“One of the black jihadists freaked out and shouted: ‘These are journalists and now they will see we are preparing an international jihad in this place.‘” Oerlemans told NRC Handelsblatt newspaper. He said that none of the fighters was Syrian.
“They all claimed they came from countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh and Chechnya and they said there was some vague ‘emir’ at the head of the group.”
About 40 per cent of the militants spoke English. In fact, several apparently talked with recognizable regional British accents, from Birmingham and London.
The two photographers suspected that a ransom would be demanded for their release and tried to escape. Oerlemans was shot twice in the leg during the failed attempt and Cantlie, who has so far not spoken to any media, was wounded in the arm.
Now Press TV is reporting that the UK is refusing to confirm that British mercenaries are even among the rebels after they promised to launch an investigation.
Cantile said he was held in a camp by 30 foreign extremists including some from Britain and Pakistan. He also revealed that some of his captors were “young men with south London accents”.
“They were aiming their Kalashnikovs at a British journalist, Londoner against Londoner in a rocky landscape that looked like the Scottish Highlands”, said Cantile.
The British photographer also disclosed that some of the insurgents could not even speak Arabic, with around a dozen of his captors speaking English out of whom nine spoke with London accents.
“Not a Syrian in sight. This wasn’t what I had expected”, Cantile added. “Two of them were so Anglicised they couldn’t speak Arabic”.
Earlier last week, British Foreign Secretary William Hague promised to step up support for armed rebels in Syria while he had already insisted that Britain should be acting outside the UN Security Council.
Britain’s Foreign Office has confirmed that Cantile had been held captive in a camp in Syria but has refused to confirm that Britons were among the insurgents inside Syria.