John Cantlie: British hostage 'reports' from Kobani in new Isis propaganda video

The video is the sixth featuring the British photojournalist who was captured in Syria in November 2012

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The Independent Online

The British hostage John Cantlie has appeared in a new video released by Islamic State militants in which he purports to speak from Kobani miles from the Turkish border and claims the battle for the Syrian Kurdish town is “nearly over”.

The video is the sixth featuring the British photojournalist who was captured in Syria in November 2012. For the first time Mr Cantlie is dressed in black rather than the orange attire and is outdoors.

Kobani is just miles from the Syrian border with Turkey. It has become a battleground between Isis and the Kurdish defenders.  Capturing Kobani, also known under its Arabic name of Ayn Arab, would give Isis a direct link between its positions in the Syrian province of Aleppo and its stronghold of Raqqa, to the east.

In the propaganda video, Mr Cantlie appears to downplay coalition efforts to curtail the advance of Isis fighters. “There are no YPG, PKK, or Peshmerga in site. Just a large number of Islamic State mujahedeen, and they are definitely not on the run,” he says. “Without any safe access, there are no journalists here in the city. So the media are getting their information from Kurdish commanders and White House press secretaries, neither of whom have the slightest intention of telling the truth of what is happening here on the ground.”


The video opens with aerial shots of vast swathes of desolate battleground with the title: “drone of the Islamic State army”. Mr Cantlie says in the film: “The battle for Kobani is coming to an end. The mujahideen are just mopping up now, street to street, and building to building. You can occasionally hear erratic gunfire in the background as a result of those operations. But contrary to what the Western media would have you believe, it is not an all-out battle here now. It is nearly over.”

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 815 people had been killed in the fighting for the town over the past 40 days. More than half of them are Isis fighters.  The Foreign Office was last night reviewing the contents of the video.