Italian journalist, Domenico Quirico, who was held hostage along with Belgian teacher Pierre Piccinin da Prata by rebel groups in Syria, wrote about his 150-day ordeal in La Stampalast week, reinforcing reports that rebels were overrun by self-serving terrorists.
If we were unsure of the authenticity of the Italian publication’s source, The Guardian’s release of its English translation gives it more weight in the current Syrian debate.
Adding to the international debate that Syrian rebels comprise mostly of terrorists and jihadists, Quirico revealed that he was treated ‘like an animal’ at the hands of ‘so-called revolutionaries.’
His story calls for a revision of Western policies with respect to rebels who have been provided support by the United States.
According to Quirico, everyone he encountered during his captivity, including children was abusive leading him to believe that Syria was ‘The Land Of Evil.’
Oddly enough, the only people who showed him some respect were al-Qaeda members from notorious terrorist organization, Jabhat al-Nusra Front.
“Al-Nusra is on the list of terrorist organizations compiled by America, but they were the only ones who showed us any respect,” Quirico wrote.
Ever since the civil war between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and opposition forces began in 2011, there has been an international debate regarding which side is to be blamed for escalation in violence. Most people in the West believe that Assad is a brutal dictator who unleashed chemical weapons on his own people. However, increasing reports about how rebels have been hijacked by terrorists are complicating the issue with regards to who is right and wrong.
Quirico was taken hostage in the beginning of April by anti-Assad militants who he said appeared to be Islamist revolutionaries at first. However, it became clear that his captors were nothing but a group of bandits and fanatics involved in land-grabbing, extortion, and kidnapping for ransom.
“The west trusts them, but I learned to my cost that we are talking about a new and disturbing phenomenon in the revolt: the emergence of groups of Somali-style bandits who use an Islamic veneer and the context of the revolution to control pieces of territory, extort money from the population, kidnap people and generally fill their boots,” he wrote.
His account gives credence to fears that the U.S. might be making a mistake by helping rebel groups. It may also imply that the activists who stood against the Syrian regime’s tyranny two years ago have now been overrun by exploitive militants who are fighting for their own interests – not necessarily for a religious cause.
Domenico Quirico and the other captive were freed on August 8 after enduring five months of abuse.