ISIS Releases The Most Sophisticated Terror Video Yet, Featuring Enslaved Brit [VIDEO]

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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ISIS is using a slickly produced news-style video to declare near-victory over the U.S. Air Force and Kurdish defenders in the small Syrian city of Kobani.

The high-quality video is visually arresting, because it uses drone footage to portray Kobani as a largely peaceful city, and because it uses an enslaved British journalist to underline the state’s message to young Arabs that it has divinely-backed power over Westerners.

But there are plenty of clues in the video that the jihadis haven’t won the city.

Former British journalist John Cantlie — who was seized in November 2012 — admits in the video that the Kurdish defenders are being reinforced, and that the jihadis’ can’t use tanks or artillery because of U.S. airpower.

Instead, he says, the jihadis are using handheld weapons.


The U.S. Air Force is keeping a relay of aircraft above the city for long stretches of time. The aircraft, which range from camera-equipped drones up to B-1B bombers carrying perhaps 30 guided bombs, have destroyed jihadi tanks, resupply trucks and strongpoints.

For example, U.S. bombers recently blasted a jihadi strongpoint on a hill between the town and the adjacent Turkish border that was intended to block Kurdish reinforcement and supplies. U.S. officials say the constant bombings have killed several hundred jihadis, including at least one person who was born in Britain.

In the propaganda video, Cantlie tacitly recognized the damage done to his jihadi captors.

“Even with all their airpower, even this is not enough to defeat the Islamic State here in Kobani and elsewhere,” he insisted.

Cantlie also thanked the U.S. Air Force for dropping two crates of weapons into jihadi-held areas.

But he did not mention that more than 20 containers of weapons and supplies landed in the Kurdish enclave, which is now held by a group of Kurdish soldiers and militia. That resupply has helped stall the jihadi attacks.

The new Kurdish reinforcements could allow counterattacks to regain part of the city.

Without such counterattacks, the Kurds will be constantly hit by jihadis’ suicide bombs, explosive tunnels and surprise attacks. Such face-to-face, short-range attacks are psychologically brutal, especially for the attackers.

But the enslaved correspondent declared the glass half-full.

“Urban warfare is about as nasty and tough as you can get, and it is something of a speciality for the mujahideen,” Cantlie claimed.

In other parts of Syria, the jihadis have destroyed government-held buildings by using tunnels to plant explosives beneath the foundations.

Cantlie, who can be killed legally by his captors under Islam’s sharia laws, insisted that the jihadis have won the battle.

“The battle for Kobani is coming to an end,” he said.

“The mujahideen are just mopping up now, street to street and building to building,” he said, but without showing evidence of captured Kurds or captured weapons.

“You can occasionally hear sporadic gunfire in the background as a result of those operations, but contrary to what the western media would have you believe, it is not an all-out battle here now,” he said.

The filming likely took place in a lull between bombing raids.

“It is nearly over. As you can hear, it is very quiet — just occasional gunfire,” said the British citizen.

Islamic armies have long used slave soldiers. In the Ottoman Empire, for example, the king used slave soldiers and hired European cannon experts to capture the Byzantine capital of Constantinople in 1453, after roughly 800 years of war against the Byzantine empire.

Slavery is repeatedly endorsed in Islam’s holy book, the Koran, which provides inspiration and law to the Islamic State.

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Neil Munro