Published On: Mon, Apr 21st, 2014

British extremist in Syria says ‘this is no five-star Jihad’

A British extremist in Syria has released a video showing the living conditions of fighters there, denying they are enjoying a “five-star jihad” others have boasted of.

The man, who calls himself Abu Abdullah, speaks at first in Arabic before he switches to English with a distinct estuary accent.

The video, released by Rawat al-Tawheed, a mouthpiece for British fighters in support of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) – an Islamist group that has been rejected by al-Qaeda for being too extreme.

He takes the camera into a room where he says up to seven “mujaheed”, or fighters, sleep on foam mattresses on the floor, where AK47s can be seen resting against the wall of an abandoned house.

Abdullah – using a nom de-guerre – says he has made the video to deny claims made by other Britons in Syria that they are able to enjoy the comforts of home and live in luxury.

“There’s been a lot of talk about this so-called five-star jihad and the ways the mujahideen have been living in these villas and mansions with cupboards full of sweets. It’s far from that…” he says.

He refers to a series of videos released last year showing jihadis swimming in the pools of expensive villas they claimed to have occupied. Others boasted on social media of eating kit-kats and using hair gels.

The blue-eyed man then films a number of iPhones on the floor and says they are always plugged in as the Bashar al-Assad regime keeps the electricity off in the day, turning it on for just a few hours at night.

An Apple Mac computer sits on the table in the corner of the room, which the man – dressed in camouflage and wearing a balaclava – says is used to do “work”.

He then points to a number of Western items, including body scrub and Tabasco sauce, as well as his North Face thermal jacket for the “cold nights”.

“It’s basic living”, he says. “But some of this stuff, like this body oil, you can’t leave behind.”

He says their group has no ties to British aid convoys, addressing accusations that foreign fighters are being smuggled in through the porous Turkish border with charities delivering food and medical supplies to beleaguered Syrians.

He urges other Muslims to “come to the land of jihad”, saying “it is a better living than where you are”.

Western governments and intelligence agencies have expressed their concerns that the steady stream of young Muslims leaving their countries to fight in Syria are both fuelling the conflict there and pose a potential security threat should they return home some day.

Many, they fear, are being lured to join the battle by websites that glorify those martyred fighting pro-regime forces.

A report released last week by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalism revealed the scale of foreign fighters engaged in the Syria conflict using social media.

Their analysis showed the majority of the individuals come from the UK (25.4 per cent), followed by France (14 per cent), then Germany (12.3 per cent), and Sweden with 8.8 per cent.

The majority of those fight with ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for a number of kidnapping of foreign journalists.

It has also been blamed for a number of atrocities against its rivals and accused by the UN of committing war crimes in its treatment of detainees.

Last week Abdullah Deghayes became the youngest Briton to die in the country’s civil war. The 18-year-old nephew of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Deghayes left Brighton earlier this year to join the league of rebel groups fighting the Assad regime. It is believed his two brothers are still fighting in Syria.

Their father insisted his three sons were not terrorists, praising them for travelling to Syria to defend “those who are weak”.