Briton held in Syria says British militants among captors

By AFP
Published: August 5, 2012
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Freelance photographer John Cantile and his Dutch colleague Jeroen Oerlemans were kidnapped in northern Syria on July 19 and freed a week later. PHOTO: FILE

Freelance photographer John Cantile and his Dutch colleague Jeroen Oerlemans were kidnapped in northern Syria on July 19 and freed a week later. PHOTO: FILE

LONDON: A British photographer who was held hostage in Syria for a week said on Sunday that his captors were international militants who included several Britons.

Freelance photographer John Cantile and his Dutch colleague Jeroen Oerlemans were kidnapped in northern Syria on July 19 and freed a week later.

Writing in the Sunday Times newspaper, Cantile said he was held in a camp by some 30 Islamist militants from Britain, Pakistan and Russia’s volatile republic of Chechnya.

He added that he and Oerlemans escaped with help from members of the Free Syrian Army, one of the groups fighting forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Both Cantile and Oerlemans were wounded when their captors fired shots after the fleeing men.

“I ended up running for my life, barefoot and handcuffed, while British militants — young men with south London accents — shot to kill,” he wrote.

“They were aiming their Kalashnikovs at a British journalist, Londoner against Londoner in a rocky landscape that looked like the Scottish Highlands.

“Not a Syrian in sight,” he added. “This wasn’t what I had expected.”

Cantile said that around a dozen of the captors spoke English and of these, around nine had London accents.

“Two of them were so Anglicised they couldn’t speak Arabic,” he said.

Britain’s Foreign Office confirmed that Cantile had been held in a camp, and said it took any claims that Britons were amongst foreign fighters in Syria very seriously.

“We are monitoring the situation as closely as possible,” a ministry spokesman told AFP.

“Clearly, the deteriorating security situation in Syria leaves a dangerous space for foreign fighters. The solution lies in securing robust international action to resolve the crisis.”

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Salim
    Aug 5, 2012 - 9:58PM

    we pakistanis are every where……….from Chad to mali to syria to afganistan ……………US,UK etc.as the flag bearers of the crescent moon ……….

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  • Sonya
    Aug 5, 2012 - 11:56PM

    Pakistan abstained in non-binding UN resolution against Syria put by Saudi Arabia. That is because all-weather friend China had voted against it. But Pakistan’s involvement in infiltrating islamic terrorists to Syria in partnership with Saudi Arabia is not as surprising. By doing so, it has risked annoying China and at the same time strengthened the case of Balochistan Liberation Army. Pakistan need to ensure it is not on-board when the Saudi-Israel-USA boat is sunk.

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  • Sir John Bull
    Aug 6, 2012 - 5:57AM

    Be sure to say hello to Osama when the nukes of UK, USA & Israel have turned you to radioactive dust you retarded fools

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  • John Wagner
    Aug 7, 2012 - 6:11AM

    It is sad that I see many Pakistani around me here in USA who have nothing to do with such braindeads, but I have also come across thankless Pakistanis in USA who have no regards for any one non Pakistani and more over any one non muslim. These are the ones amongst whom the law and enforcement finds a lone wolf who dreams of attacking the country from within. I wonder why my government let such people in. Only thing Pakistan has exported so far is terrorism. Even quite many decent Pakistanis I have come across have started calling themselves Indians, which is quite pitiable. Pakistan is dangerous and worst of all failed states.

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