Sunday 17 October 2021

Dutch photographer released by Islamic captors in Syria

A Dutch and a British freelance photographer are back in Turkey after being held for a week by radical Islamic rebels in Syria, the NRC reports.

Jeroen Oerlemans and John Cantlie were taken hostage at a camp close to the Syrian border with Turkey by a group of men of varying nationalities, the Dutchman told the NRC.
Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal said in a statement on Thursday evening Oerlemans had been missing for a week but was now back in Turkey.
The photographer was injured during an attempt to escape earlier in the week. ‘We ran a few hundred metres up the hill. We heard voices and shots but we kept on running,’ he is quoted as saying. ‘We were convinced it was either run or die.’
Oerlemans was shot in the hip. ‘My life was saved by a Pakistani youth who could speak English. He convinced the others that it would be against Islam to finish me off,’ the photographer told the NRC.
On Thursday the camp was entered by four soldiers from the Free Syrian Army who took the two journalists with them, shooting into the air as they ran off. Three hours later, the duo were in Turkey, Oerlemans said.
He is now in Turkey and waiting for travel documents to return back to the Netherlands, the NRC said.

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