British Muslim convert says he is now in solitary confinement in a Kurdish jail after ‘fleeing ISIS’ in Syria
A former Oxford schoolboy who converted to Islam and traveled to Syria has spoken out from the solitary confinement cell he’s being held in by Kurdish forces fighting the terrorist group.
Jack Letts, a 21-year-old nicknamed ‘Jihadi Jack’, says is being held in jail by the YPG, or Kurdish militia, in Syria after traveling to the country and later fleeing ISIS through a minefield.
He claims that he’s now opposed to IS and left their territory with the help of a smuggler. The pair ended up near a Kurdish checkpoint, where he says they were shot at twice.
Letts said that he and the smuggler ‘slept in a field’ before Kurdish forces found him and took him to a jail in Kurdish-held northeast Syria.
And now, Letts says he doesn’t want anything to do with ISIS.
‘I hate them more than the Americans hate them,’ he told the BBC. ‘I realised they were not upon the truth so they put me in prison three times and threatened to kill me.’
Letts converted to Islam as a teenager when he he attended the Cherwell School in Oxford.
After fleeing the UK he traveled to Jordan as an 18-year-old in 2014 and later reportedly went by the name Abu Muhammed while living in Iraq.
His family has denied that Letts was fighting for IS but was instead in the Middle East for humanitarian reasons.
Letts married in Iraq and his wife and child are still living in IS territory.
He told BBC through texts and voice messages that he was injured in an explosion and had gone to Raqqa, Syria, to recover.
But about a year ago he became disillusioned with the group when it killed former supporters, he said.
When asked if he would like help from UK officials, Letts told the BBC that he didn’t want help from anyone.
He managed to escape a low-security detention facility and found a smuggler to take him out of IS territory, which is when he was captured by Kurdish forces.
‘I’ll just chill here in solitary confinement ’til someone decides it’s easier to kill me,’ he said.
His parents, John Letts and Sally Lane, have not seen their son in more than three years. They haven’t heard from him since June 1.
Last June the couple were charged with terrorism-related offenses for trying to send their son money.
Letts’ parents are calling on British authorities to do ‘whatever they can’ to help their son, though adding that he will have to ‘account for his actions’.
They said that ‘no-one wants to take responsibility’ now that Letts is out of IS territory.
Mr Letts said that if his son had anything to do with IS, he wants ‘nothing to do with him’.
‘I think there has been so much misinformation, one little piece of information came out and it was manipulated, twisted, as far as I can see,’ added Ms Lane.
Ms Lane previously told the Oxford Mail she was immensely grateful after finding out where their son was.
She said: ‘We are immensely relieved. It’s the first time we’ve known that he might have survived all this.
‘It’s obviously not great that Jack is being detained but we are just glad he is now out of the situation he was in before.’
Ms Lane told the BBC that she doesn’t believe her son is being treated badly, but she is concerned about his mental health.
The 21-year-old has previously denied claims he travelled to the Middle East to try and join ISIS.
He told Alaraby television network: ‘I want to get out of prison, because I’m currently still in prison with the YPG [Kurdish militia].
‘I have no idea what is going to happen to me now. It’s the future, no one knows except for Allah.
‘I want to see my mum, and explain to her some things.’
Source: Daily Mail