Hostage journalist appears in new Isil propaganda video

Video still of John Cantlie                    Picture: PA
Video still of John Cantlie Picture: PA

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A NEW propaganda video by Isil featuring British photojournalist John Cantlie, in which he says it is the ‘last film in this series’, has appeared online.

The high-quality documentary-style production is titled ‘From Inside Halab’, the ancient name for the Syrian city of Aleppo, with Mr Cantlie reporting on a range of topics including education, drone strikes and Sharia law.

The hostage, from Droxford, has been held captive for more than two years by Isil militants.

In the latest video, Mr Cantlie describes the ‘advance and stretch’ of Islamic State as ‘remarkable and breathtaking’.

He says huge sections of Aleppo have been ‘smashed to rubble’ by bombings by both the Syrian Army and US air forces.

But he then moves on to show how the city is apparently still functioning well under IS rule with a ‘thriving economy’.

Mr Cantlie then reports on education being received by children under Islamic State.

He said: ‘One of the common accusations of the west is that under [Isil] education will suffer, religious studies and changes to the curriculum don’t quite fit their image of progressive schooling.

‘But here in Halab, these young men here are learning Koran recital and languages and with any luck they will form the mujahideen for the next generation in this region.’

After spotting a drone flying above the city, the film cuts to the apparent aftermath of an airstrike.

Mr Cantlie, who is in his 40s, is then seen sitting in a Sharia law court, explaining how it functions.

‘Unlike the laws of democratic countries which change to fit every circumstance or to fit every different week, the rules of Sharia are remarkably simple,’ he says.

‘For example, if you are convicted of robbery with the correct number of witnesses and such forth, you have your hand cut off.’

‘Sounds harsh but you’re not going to commit the same crime again and it will dissuade others from doing the same.’

Mr Cantlie later interviews a French Isil member about the attacks last month at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

Speaking in French, the man says: ‘The three attacks only made us happy.’

Mr Cantlie’s father Paul, 80, died from complications following pneumonia last year. His sister, Jessica Cantlie, has previously appealed for ‘direct contact’ with the militants holding him.

Isil has posted a number of videos of hostages being murdered, including British aid worker Alan Henning last year.

Most recently, a film appeared online in which Jordanian pilot 26-year-old Moaz al Kasasbeh is seen being burned to death.

In response, Jordanian fighters have carried out three consecutive days of bombing raids on Isil positions.