“Prisoner” John Cantlie reports from Mosul in 2 recent Islamic State videos on Coalition bombing and IS attack on regime tanks


“ISIS vid from Mosul incl. UK hostage John Cantlie talking about M1 Abrams tanks and how they are destroyed. Cantlie calls himself prisoner”

(Image from IS video via Bjorn Stritzek, BILD)

British journalist John Cantlie (45) who was kidnapped in Syria 4 years ago and is now held by Islamic State has appeared again in 2 of their latest video releases giving hope to family and friends back home.

The first video shows Cantlie looking gaunt and bearded reporting Coalition airstrikes which have destroyed 4 out of 5 bridges in Mosul, Iraq. He speaks of long delays and “pandemonium” to locals as they try to cross from east to east on a narrow stretch of what remains of a bridge. Only the smallest bridge crossing the Tigris is left fully standing.


Screen grab showing John taken from IS video released on December 7, 2016 by Amaq News Agency (via AFP)

He interviews residents of the city and highlights that the Coalition are not attacking “mujahideen” that are fighting on the outskirts but ordinary civilians going about their business. Cantlie also shows damage to main water pipes bombed twice which has killed workers and led to water shortages. There is also little electricity with winter approaching and temperatures dropping to zero.

The BBC reported in March 2016,

“Mr Cantlie, who is originally from Hampshire, has seen his work appear in the Sunday Times, the Sun and the Sunday Telegraph.

He has been held captive in Syria twice. After being kidnapped in July 2012, he escaped with help from the Free Syrian Army.

He was then kidnapped for a second time when he returned to the country towards the end of 2012. It is believed he was with US journalist James Foley, who was later killed.”

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned Islamic State “using him (Cantlie) for propaganda purposes in Syria and Iraq for the past two years” and said, “he looks pale and emaciated in the footage, indicating that he has suffered a dramatic physical change since his last appearance in an IS video in July.” Cantlie who refers to himself as a “prisoner” has appeared in a number of IS videos. Articles he is alleged to have written have appeared in Dabiq, an IS publication. Islam has a code of conduct towards civilian prisoners which must be followed. There is also the Geneva Convention…

In 20o3, referring to treatment of Iraqi prisoners, Global Policy Forum wrote,

“The rules governing the treatment of prisoners of war are spelled out in the third Geneva Convention of 1949. The Convention requires that POW’s “must at all times be treated humanely,” and goes on to list a number of specific requirements: they must not be killed, seriously endangered, mutilated or subject to medical or scientific experiments. Furthermore, they must be protected against acts of violence or intimidation, and against “insults and public curiosity” (Article 13).”


IS video shows the destruction of multiple tanks (Image via MENAnalyst)

In the second video from “Wilayat Ninawa” in Iraq, sent to me by Sahwaji, (FreeSyria) Cantlie narrates an IS attack on dozens of regime tanks in Mosul and shows footage of numerous Anti Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) Hits.

MENAnalyst tweeted images of destroyed vehicles back on December 8th,

“media release asserts that dozen destroyed ISF vehicles incl. Tanks, HUMVs, AIFVs, BMPs are seen at Salam Hospital, southeast”

Rami al-Lolah (Rami) who provides news, exclusives, intelligence and reports from the Middle East states, ‘Armor Hunters’ is the latest media from ISIS Wilayat Ninawa in the series covering Mosul battles: It features plenty of ATGM hits. Iraq.” He also says, “as I reported couple weeks ago; that was UK Cantlie who was featured in a scene from ISIS ‘Impact of Bullets’ media from Mosul.”

Cantlie is seen watching videos of the attacks and states “he never saw such a battle” and points to the “bravery” of IS fighters who climb onto tanks dropping explosive devices into the turrets.

Rami also tweets the following photo,


“Fighter from ‘Abu Ikrimah’ featured in the latest media from Mosul claimed that he destroyed 3 -made Abrams tank..  “


“Cantlie narrates the whole 35 min video where ISIS boasts about destroyed tanks and MRAPS in Mosul” (Image from IS video via Bjorn Stritzek, BILD)

Commenting of the appearance of Cantlie, Rukmini Callimachi, Correspondent for The New York Times, focusing on al-Qaeda and ISIS tweeted,

“haunting new video of ISIS hostage John Cantlie, Briton captured at same time as James Foley. Shows him at al-Salam Hospital in Mosul….. Journalists were at that hospital with Iraqi mil hrs before IS overran it. That means Cantlie, held for 4 yrs, was w/in meters of safety.”


“… behind me it looks like a scene of a Steven Spielberg film, except this is for real…” – John Cantlie, from Mosul

(Islamic State video image via Daniele Raineri)

Cantlie is shown guiding the viewer around an area full of tanks that had been lured IS lured to a centre point and destroyed by IS. He also points out the remains of a US hellfire missile. Cantlie adds, “you have to be careful” as there are unexploded devices all around adding, “this is the battle for Mosul”.

Rami tweets,

“The best scene from ‘Armor Hunters’ from al-Salam hospital in Mosul goes to Cantlie and the |i soldier helmet.. Enjoy!

Cantlie is seen picking up a green helmet saying, “this used to belong to an Iraqi soldier, er, I don’t think he’s going to be needing it now”, he throws it away and walks off. End of video.

Sahwaji who posted the video told me, “I don’t think IS will kill him, Inshallah he will be released and he will have great story to tell.” A friend of Cantlie (name withheld) who watched the video remained optimistic she said, “he’s alive. He’s looked far worse.”

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

About Carol Anne Grayson

Blogging for Humanity.... Campaigner/researcher global health/human rights/drones/WOT/insurgency http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/PO/experts/Health_and_Wellbeing.aspx Exec Producer of Oscar nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad, currently filming on drones.
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