A British jihadist who was briefly held in a Turkish prison on the Syrian border and later exchanged with Turkish hostages has said that Turkish authorities treated him well, even ordering pizza and allowing him and other captives to use the Internet, according to a news report.
Shabazz Suleman (19) told The Times that he was spotted by security cameras on the Turkish-Syrian border after his parents reported him missing. It was later clear that Suleman, who reportedly went to Aleppo for aid work, was radicalized through Twitter and joined the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).
Recounting his brief life in a Turkish prison, Suleman said the Turkish guard had sympathy for his cause and allowed him and dozens of other ISIL militants to use the Internet and contact ISIL.
Forty-six Turkish hostages had been held by ISIL in Mosul, Iraq, last summer for 102 days. Turkish government officials have not revealed how they managed to secure the release of the captives. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denied that they had paid a ransom, but has been vague on whether there was a prisoner swap.
He indicated that his country may have traded ISIL prisoners it held captive in exchange for the Turkish hostages held by the militants.
“It was good lol. Had pizza in prison. Dominos lol. Was allowed net. We spoke to dawla [ISIL] in prison. Watched ISIL videos. Sang nasheeds [Islamic chants],” Suleman wtote to The Times.
Suleman said he was held along with 35 other ISIL militants in an “open” prison in Şanlıurfa close to the Turkish-Syrian border. He was given a choice to be deported or rejoin ISIL as part of the swap.
“After a month of waiting, they told us buses are waiting outside for us. MİT [National Intelligence Organization] ran the exchange. Told us we are free. Exchanged at border, We drove into dawla,” Suleman wrote.