Taken from The Daily Mail:
NHS doctor led Syrian terror cell that took British journalist hostage
- British-born doctor was senior member of heavily-armed militant gang that held two photographers captive at a camp in war-torn Syria
- Medic told captive John Cantlie he took leave from his post at a leading London hospital to wage ‘holy war’
- Extremist – who has a wife and child in Britain – intends to return to a job in the NHS when he leaves Syria
PUBLISHED: 11:22, 26 August 2012 | UPDATED: 17:29, 26 August 2012
An NHS doctor on leave from a London hospital was part of a heavily-armed extremist gang who took a British journalist hostage in war-torn Syria.
The Kalashnikov-toting doctor – believed to be around 28 – told photographer John Cantlie he had taken a sabbatical from his medical work to come to Syria and fight a ‘holy war’.
The bearded medic, who spoke with a south London accent and said he had a wife and a child back in the UK, told the captive photographer he intended to return to an NHS job in Britain after his time in Syria.
Captive: John Cantlie, who was shot in the arm when he tried to escape the camp in Syria, said his British-born captor planned to return to a role in the NHS
Mr Cantlie, 41, was captured along with Dutch colleague Jeroen Oerlemans while they were in the country to report on the civil war between President Assad’s army and rebel fighters.
The mystery doctor, who kept his face covered with sunglasses and a scarf, was one of around a dozen British militants who held the two journalists prisoner at a camp inside the Syrian border last month.
‘It was a bit of a surprise to find an NHS doctor as one of our captors – with an AK-47 and preaching Sharia law,’ Mr Cantlie told the Sun newspaper.
‘When we asked his name he said: “Just call me the doctor. I’m the only one here.”‘
The hostages were handcuffed, blindfolded and kept under armed guard in a terrifying ordeal lasting seven days.
The extremist doctor told the photographer his experiences in war-torn Syria would be good for his NHS career, and that he intended to specialise in trauma medicine when he returned to the UK.
‘He said he’d come here to “help people” – and yet he carried a gun at all times and said he was also here for war,’ Mr Cantlie said.
Destruction: Mr Cantlie and a colleague were held captive at a camp two miles inside the border of Syria – the scene of deadly clashes between rebel fighters and President Assad’s army
He said his captor – who was equipped with gauzes, medicines, IV drips and other medical equipment at the camp two miles inside the Syrian border – even complained about NHS waiting lists, saying the service was good for emergency patients, but less so for those left waiting for routine operations.
The photographer also described hearing the unidentified doctor making phone calls home.
When the journalists tried to flee the camp on their second day in captivity, a British militant was among those who opened fire on the pair to thwart their escape attempt.
Mr Cantlie was shot in the arm and Mr Oerlemans through the leg – and it was the NHS doctor who treated their injuries; administering antibiotics and saline drips, and stitching up the wounds.
But the medic’s merciless views were evident when the planned executions of two Syrian prisoners at the camp were called off after they repented and pledged to follow Sharia law.
‘The doc seemed annoyed. He said they should have been beheaded because they were spies,’ said Mr Cantlie, who now has only limited movement in his left hand as a result of his injuries.
The doctor left the camp soon afterwards.
Unrest: Mr Cantlie and Mr Oerlemans were eventually rescued by Syrian rebels. Above, a member of the Free Syrian Army runs for cover during clashes with army soldiers in Aleppo’s Saif al-Dawla district this week
Clashes: Fighting is ongoing in Syria as rebel fighters attempt to wrest control from President Assad’s army. Smoke can be seen over the Salah al-Din in central Aleppo after clashes earlier this month
Mr Cantlie and Mr Oerlemans, who feared that they would be executed by their militant captors, were then told they were to be sold to an al-Qaeda group.
But the pair were rescued by Syrian rebels hours before the handover, bringing their seven-day ordeal to an end.
Rebels in the Free Syrian Army were told of the journalists’ plight by their guide, who had managed to flee the camp in the wake of the pair’s aborted escape attempt on their second day in captivity.
They overran the camp and were able to release the two hostages.
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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2193771/John-Cantlie-NHS-doctor-led-Syrian-terror-cell-took-British-journalist-hostage.html#ixzz24fsuOpSr