Hostage John Cantlie's fate unknown as ISIS releases latest in 'documentary' series

Cantlie has appeared in a series of documentary-style propaganda videos since he was captured in late 2012.

February 10, 2015 09:28
1 minute read.

From Inside Halab

From Inside Halab


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The fate of captured British journalist John Cantlie remained unknown Tuesday as Islamic State released the latest episode in a series of documentary-style propaganda videos.

From Inside Halab, using the ancient name for Aleppo, Syria, was posted on Youtube Monday and was said to be made by Al Hayat Media, with a logo imitating that of Al Jazeera's. The last video in which he was seen was released on January 4 and called From Inside Mosul, in Northern Iraq

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The video starts off with Cantlie, who appears healthy and in civilian clothing, in a pile of crumbled buildings, blaming the "Assad air force" and the American anti-IS coalition for the ruins.

"Today we're going to find out if all these bombs, all this fighting, has even slowed down the advance of the Islamic State," he says in a script most likely written by Islamic State.

"Driving into Halab, one can truly appreciate firsthand the large swathes of territory liberated by the mujahadeen [Islamic fighters]."

Next, the video shows him describing the supposedly thriving agriculture industry, the education system, Sharia law and the "serenity and surreal beauty" of the area, showing Islamic state fighters fishing, relaxing and drinking tea.

Later in the video, Cantlie has to describe the benefits of extremist Sharia law compared with democracies, saying how civilians in Halab "just want to get on with their lives" but are prevented due to American bombing.

The video also shows different media kiosks set up around town that hand out the group's interpretation of news, to counter what is called the West's  "distorted media" and what people might hear about the horrors of Islamic State.

It seems the video was made directly after the deadly attacks in Paris, as the clip ended with Cantlie interviewing a French Islamic State member.

Cantlie has appeared in a number of videos posted online by IS, which has beheaded a number of  Western hostages. He was first captured in July 2012 but was rescued a week later. In November 2012, he was captured for a second time in northern Syria, along with the slain James Foley, and has remained a hostage since.

Reuters and staff contributed to this report.

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