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Jeroen Oerlemans John Cantlie Syria

Kidnapped in Syria

Jul 2012

Cantlie and Oerlemans are kidnapped in Syria after crossing the Turkish border at Bab al Halwa. Their guide unintentionally leads them to a jihadi camp, where between 30-100 fighters from Bangladesh, Britain, Chechnya, and Pakistan are based. They are told that if they can prove they are journalists they will be let go, but are then accused of being spies. The group’s allegiance is not clear. Oerlemans:

They were definitely quite extreme in their religious beliefs. All day we were spoken to about the Koran and how they would bring Shariah law to Syria. I don’t think they were Al Qaeda; they seemed too amateurish for that. They said, ‘We’re not Al Qaeda, but Al Qaeda is down the road.’