An exclusive from The Sun
A BRITISH photographer shot and wounded in Syria while held hostage by Islamic fanatics was astonished to find his captors were led by an NHS doctor. The AK47-armed, heavily-bearded extremist told John Cantlie he had taken two years’ leave from a major London hospital to wage holy war. And the medic, who described in detail his hospital experience and carried NHS medical kit, said he plans to return to the UK to become a trauma consultant in A&E.
John, 41, and Dutch colleague Jeroen Oerlemans were snatched while reporting Syria’s civil war between tyrant President Assad and rebels. But they were horrified to find a British doctor among the leaders of a group that was threatening to behead its captives.
John said: “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 . . . When we asked his name he said ‘Just call me the doctor. I’m the only one here.’ He told us he had a wife and a child in London. He spoke with a south London accent and said he had taken two years out from his work as an NHS doctor to fight jihad."
The medic, whose al Absi organisation hopes to set up a fundamentalist Islamic state in Syria, also told John the experience he was getting would be good for his NHS career. John said: “He wanted to specialise in trauma medicine when he returned to hospital. He said treating jihadists wounded in battle was good training. He had a pack of gauzes, medicines, IV drips and medical gear. Not things you’d pick up at Boots.”
The doctor was among between ten and 15 Brits at the terror camp just inside Syria’s border. Many of them were Londoners. And when John tried to escape one of the Brits was among those who opened fire, wounding him and Jeroen. . . another Londoner, (he was the) guy who had shot at me as we tried to escape. He also smacked the butt of his AK-47 into my head after we were recaptured. Some of the Brits were vindictive. They wanted us dead.”
John has now described the mystery doctor in detail for an artist’s sketch — in the hope he can be identified.
myView By COL RICHARD KEMP, Former Commander British Forces in Afghanistan
IT’S chilling to think just a few months ago we could have been treated on the NHS by this gun-toting doctor of death.
This is a man whose Hippocratic oath did not prevent him from participating in the horrific abuse of a fellow Briton.
He and his fellow extremists seek to violently enslave the people of Syria, forcing upon them the medieval rule of Sharia law.How do we know he will not come home to plan lethal attacks against us from within the cloak of respectability afforded by his profession?
John Cantlie’s account reminds us of the deadly threat we face from the enemy within. The Government must do all it can to identify this evil doctor.