Al Qaeda releases British woman on ‘humanitarian’ grounds without ransom
According to Daily Mail, British woman who was captured by Al Qaeda in Syria and held for seven months has been released after the militants found out about her long history of mental illness.
The 31-year-old crossed into Syria from Turkey seven months ago to teach English. She was freed after managing to send a secret Whatsapp message to London based lawyer Tasnime Akunjee, who then spent two weeks negotiating with jihadis based in Harem city.
After presenting Nusra Front fighters with evidence that the woman has a long history of mental illness, the militants agreed to release her.
The woman was released after two weeks long negotiations with militants. The lawyer said the jihadis were ‘entirely reasonable’ throughout the process.
‘They took into account the humanitarian issues and agreed to release her once we have proven our credentials and history of mental illness,’ he added.
The woman is understood to have been captured in the north west Syrian city of Harem last November after crossing over the border from southern Turkey.
She was immediately detained by fighters from the Nusra Front group – Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise who are also known as Jabhat al-Nusra – who held her as a prisoner in a house in the city for seven months.
Harem was captured by the Nusra Front late last year and is now considered to be the terror group’s de facto capital in the war torn country.
In recent weeks the woman managed to obtain a mobile phone and sent a desperate Whatsapp voice message to Mr Akunjee pleading for his help.
The solicitor was able to establish contact with the militants and successfully negotiate her release.
Nusra Front jihadis are said to have handed the woman to an aid charity working in the area, who helped her cross back over the border into Turkey where she was met by her relieved brother.
It is understood that no ransom was paid for her release and she will return to the UK soon.