British rebel fighter offers rare insight into daily life of foreign jihadists

Abu Abdullah has appeared in a number of similar videos urging British muslims to join him

Like a surreal version of the hit MTV series 'Cribs', a British citizen who fights with the rebels in Syria has released a video tour of the home he shares with fellow fighters in the war-torn country.

With security services in the UK growing increasingly concerned about the number of Britons travelling to join extremist groups in Syria, the video offers a unique insight into the daily lives of those who have already made the journey. 

"Today we wanted to show you the basic living of the brothers in this base," says the man, known by the nom de guerre Abu Abdullah. "There has been a lot of talk of this so-called five-star jihad. And the way the mujahedeen have been living in these villas and these mansions and cupboards full of sweets. But it is far from that."

Abu Abdullah, thought to be a member of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), has appeared in a number of similar videos in which he calls for British Muslims to join him in Syria. 

Whereas much of the output from jihadist organisations has sought to glamorise the life of a rebel fighter, Abu Abdullah's video appears aimed at presenting a more realistic portrayal of the difficulties they face. 

"This is the room where the mujahedeen sleep," he says to camera, mirroring the style of the long-running MTV show that sees celebrities invite the viewer on a tour of their home. "It's just basic living, you've got your mattresses here where six or seven brothers sleep on the floor. The majority of the time we don’t have electricity."

"It's not the five-star that people are saying," he adds. "This boiler doesn't work. We only use cold water."

This latest video is part of a wider trend of extremist groups in Syria using social media to promote their cause and encourage others to join the three-years-long civil war. On Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, rebel groups with slick media operations  post photographs and videos of their exploits on the battlefield and proudly display their weapons.

The video was uploaded by a group calling itself Rayat al Tawheed (Banner of God), which claims to be the English-language media arm of ISIS.

ISIS - which was formerly affiliated with al-Qa'ida until the latter dissociated itself from the group - is dominated by foreign fighters who believe in the creation of an Islamic State in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. The group operates across the borders of Syria and Iraq and has attracted Islamic extremists from all over the world to its cause. It has also been blamed for a host of atrocities against its rivals.

 

The total number of British participants in the conflict is estimated to be in the "hundreds", with as many as 20 thought to have died in the fighting. Charles Farr, the Home Office's terror chief, warned recently that Brits travelling to Syria represented the "the biggest challenge" to the security services since the 2001 Twin Tower attacks.

As ISIS and other jihadist groups have come under greater pressure from other rebels, many foreign fighters have fled Syria and returned to their country of origin. Senior security officials have said that around 250 British "extremist tourists" have returned home, and are now suspected of wanting to carry out attacks here.  Scotland Yard revealed earlier this year that Syria-related terrorism arrests are soaring with 16 so far this year, compared with 24 for all of 2013.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever