Hampshire man held hostage by Isil appears gaunt and frail in new video

Hampshire man John Cantlie appearing in the latest propaganda video by weakened terror group Isil
Hampshire man John Cantlie appearing in the latest propaganda video by weakened terror group Isil
Mark Bibby

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A HAMPSHIRE man being held hostage by terrorists has appeared in a new propaganda video released by so-called Islamic State.

Photojournalist John Cantlie, kidnapped in Syria in 2012, looks thin and pale as he addressed the camera and speaks about the coalition’s bombing campaign in Mosul.

Its the latest video to feature the captured 45-year-old, who appeared in a previous Isil propaganda video in July.

In each, he is depicted as a journalist critical of Western foreign policy rather than a prisoner.

That latest clip, released on YouTube last night, shows him wearing a black jacket, lambasting the recent bombing campaigns against Isil in Mosul.

Looking gaunt and pale, with a shaggy beard, Mr Cantlie condemns the airstrikes, which he says are taking a greater toll on the Iraqi civilians than jihadist fighters.

He says: ‘You have to ask yourself, if this is the coalition’s war about the mujahideen, then why are they waging it against Muslims of Mosul?’

It is not clear to what extent his words have been scripted by his captors.

However, his supporters are clear that these are the words of a captured prisoner, not a free man.

Cantlie, originally from Winchester, was kidnapped in November 2012 along with American journalist James Foley.

Mr Foley was beheaded by Isil in August 2014, with his death filmed and included in a propaganda video called ‘A Message to America’.

Since then, Mr Cantlie has appeared in several videos across Syria and Iraq.

In the previous video, he was filmed criticising the bombing of Mosul University, which he claims killed 15 people and injured 130.

The journalist’s kidnap in November 2012 was the second time he had been abducted in Syria.

He was previously kidnapped by fighters while crossing the Syria-Turkey border in July 2012 but was rescued by the Free Syria Army a week later.

Mr Cantlie’s late father Paul has previously begged for Isil to release his son.

Tragically, the 80-year-old died in 2014 from complications following pneumonia in 2014.

A UK Foreign Office spokeswoman said: ‘We are looking at the contents of the latest propaganda video.’