ISIS Hostages Endured Torture and Dashed Hopes, Freed Cellmates Say
This report is long, but well worth the time to read.
The hostages were taken out of their cell one by one.
In a private room, their captors asked each of them three intimate questions, a standard technique used to obtain proof that a prisoner is still alive in a kidnapping negotiation.
James Foley returned to the cell he shared with nearly two dozen other Western hostages and collapsed in tears of joy. The questions his kidnappers had asked were so personal (“Who cried at your brother’s wedding?” “Who was the captain of your high school soccer team?”) that he knew they were finally in touch with his family.
What appeared to be a turning point was in fact the start of a downward spiral for Mr. Foley, a 40-year-old journalist, that ended in August when he was forced to his knees somewhere in the bald hills of Syria and beheaded as a camera rolled.
Peter Kassig was one of at least 23 foreign hostages from 12 countries who were kidnapped by Syrian insurgents, sold or handed over to the Islamic State, and then held underground in a prison near the Syrian city of Raqqa. A majority of the hostages were freed in exchange for large sums of cash, but those from the United States and Britain — two countries that abide by a strict no-ransom policy — were either killed or are still being held.
Click below to enlargen graphic:
The story of what happened in the Islamic State’s underground network of prisons in Syria is one of excruciating suffering. Mr. Foley and his fellow hostages were routinely beaten and subjected to waterboarding. For months, they were starved and threatened with execution by one group of fighters, only to be handed off to another group that brought them sweets and contemplated freeing them. The prisoners banded together, playing games to pass the endless hours, but as conditions grew more desperate, they turned on one another. Some, including Mr. Foley, sought comfort in the faith of their captors, embracing Islam and taking Muslim names.
Their captivity coincided with the rise of the group that came to be known as the Islamic State out of the chaos of the Syrian civil war. It did not exist on the day Mr. Foley was abducted, but it slowly grew to become the most powerful and feared rebel movement in the region. By the second year of Mr. Foley’s imprisonment, the group had amassed close to two dozen hostages and devised a strategy to trade them for cash.
It was only a 40-minute drive to the Turkish border, but Mr. Foley decided to make one last stop.
In Binesh, Syria, two years ago, Mr. Foley and his traveling companion, the British photojournalist John Cantlie, pulled into an Internet cafe to file their work. The two were no strangers to the perils of reporting in Syria. Only a few months earlier, Mr. Cantlie had been kidnapped a few dozen miles from Binesh. He had tried to escape, barefoot and handcuffed, running for his life as bullets kicked up the dirt, only to be caught again. He was released a week later after moderate rebels intervened.
They were uploading their images when a man walked in.
“He had a big beard,” said Mustafa Ali, their Syrian translator, who was with them and recounted their final hours together. “He didn’t smile or say anything. And he looked at us with evil eyes.”
The man “went to the computer and sat for one minute only, and then left directly,” Mr. Ali said. “He wasn’t Syrian. He looked like he was from the Gulf.”
Mr. Foley, an American freelance journalist filing for GlobalPost and Agence France-Presse, and Mr. Cantlie, a photographer for British newspapers, continued transmitting their footage, according to Mr. Ali, whose account was confirmed by emails the journalists sent from the cafe to a colleague waiting for them in Turkey.
This article is lengthy, but well worth the time to read. it will give you important background and information the American public may never know. Read the entire article HERE