Jeroen Oerlemans

Jeroen Oerlemans3 posts
27 Jul, 2012

Freed by FSA

Cantlie and Oerlemans are freed by members of the Free Syrian Army. Oerlemans:

[The FSA] started dressing down everyone, [asking] why the hell we were being kept there, how long we had been kept there, why we were being treated in this way.

They are driven out of the camp while the FSA shoot into the air. Oerlemans on the group’s ideology:

Where the FSA seems to be fighting for democracy, these foreign fighters don’t want anything more than imposing sharia on Syria. Syrians are pretty moderate Muslims in general, but they want to put them under the boot of sharia law.

Jul 2012

Shot during escape attempt

Cantlie and Oerlemans attempt to escape on the second day of their captivity, but are shot by the jihadists. Cantlie:

I ended up running for my life, barefoot and handcuffed while British jihadists — young men with south London accents — shot to kill. They were aiming their Kalashnikovs at a British journalist, Londoner against Londoner in a rocky landscape that looked like the Scottish Highlands.

Cantlie is shot in the arm while Oerlemans is shot in the foot and thigh.

Kidnapped in Syria

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.’

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