Jihadi Jack’s mother fears her son, 23, could be killed in the crossfire if Turkey launches invasion of northern Syria
- Sally Lane fears Syrian Democratic Forces could suddenly release ISIS prisoners
- Son Jack Letts left Oxford home to join ISIS in 2014 and was dubbed ‘Jihadi Jack’
- He’s been held in a squalid jail in Syria since Kurdish militia captured him in 2017
- Turkish military expected to soon cross into Syria with allied Syrian rebel forces
John Letts and Sally Lane, father and mother of British jihadi Jack Letts, pictured in June
The mother of British jihadi Jack Letts has revealed she is ‘terrified’ that her son could be killed if Turkey invades Syria.
Sally Lane fears the Syrian Democratic Forces could suddenly release Islamic State prisoners if the Turks enter territory held by Kurdish fighters.
Her son Letts, 23, dubbed ‘Jihadi Jack’, who left his home in Oxford to join ISIS in 2014, has been held in a squalid and overcrowded jail in northern Syria since Kurdish militia captured him in 2017.
The Turkish military are expected to ‘shortly’ cross into Syria together with allied Syrian rebel forces after President Donald Trump announced US troops would withdraw from the area.
Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters, allied with American forces in the fight against IS, as terrorists linked to outlawed Kurdish rebels within Turkey.
Letts is one of several British people, including former London schoolgirl Shamima Begum and two members of the ‘Beatles’ gang, being held by the Kurds in Syria.
Pictures emerged over the weekend of Jack Letts – who denies ever being a fighter – lying on the floor of a jail in Syria among dozens of fellow Islamic State prisoners
Mrs Lane, 57, said: ‘I’m worried that he could get killed in the crossfire. I know what people think, who cares about hundreds of Isis fighters, but one of them is my son.’
The mother, who was speaking to the Guardian, fears the Syrian Democratic Forces could ask prisoners to fight for them against Turkey.
The Kurdish-led authority in northern Syria has called for a general mobilisation, urging residents to resist imminent Turkish attack.
Mrs Lane and her husband, organic farmer John Letts, were convicted at the Old Bailey in June of supporting terrorism by sending Jack £223 in 2015.
Jack Letts (pictured above) is one of several British people being held by the Kurds in Syria
They were also found not guilty for trying to wire him a further £1,500 to pay a people smuggler to try to get him out. The couple received suspended sentences.
Mrs Lane has pleaded for Letts to be allowed to return and face trial in Britain so that he can be rescued from the conditions in which he is being held.
But the Home Office has dismissed her plea – and Muslim convert Letts, who left behind his middle-class life in Britain, has been stripped of his UK citizenship.
Pictures emerged over the weekend of Letts – who denies ever being a fighter – lying on the floor of a jail in Syria among dozens of fellow ISIS prisoners.
Letts (right centre), who left his home in Oxfordshire to join ISIS in 2014, has been held in a squalid and overcrowded jail in northern Syria since Kurdish militia captured him in 2017
After denouncing ISIS as ‘un-Islamic’ in social media posts, Letts managed to escape from the caliphate’s capital Raqqa in May 2017.
Since then he has been held by the Kurdish YPG militia at the prison in the photos – believed to be in the city of Qamishli. He has not been charged or put on trial.
In occasional letters to his parents sent via the Red Cross, Letts has described how he is being held in a mass cell, with almost no furniture.
He has said it is boiling in summer and freezing in winter, with no access to exercise or the outdoors, and little opportunity to wash.
Letts is still a citizen of Canada, where his father comes from (pictured together as a child)
In one of his last acts as Home Secretary, Chancellor Sajid Javid revoked Letts’s UK citizenship in July. Letts is still a citizen of Canada, where his father comes from.
John Letts and Sally Lane leave the Old Bailey in London in June after they were spared jail
More than 60 British jihadis are languishing in Kurdish custody in northern Syria, their numbers equally split between men and women.
The male jihadis are being kept in secret prisons, while the women and children are being kept in camps such as Roj, Al-Hol and Ayn Issa.
Officials believe that some of the detainees are battle-hardened jihadis who would pose serious danger to national security, and have had their British citizenships withdrawn to prevent them from returning to the UK.
These include El-Shafee Elsheikh, 31, and Alexanda Kotey, 35, members of a gang of British terrorists known as the Beatles, who imprisoned, tortured and beheaded Western hostages.
The most infamous of the group was Mohammed Emwazi, also known as Jihadi John, who beheaded at least five Western hostages, including two Britons, in front of the camera.
Among female detainees are Shamima Begum, 19 – one of three Bethnal Green Academy girls who ran away to Syria in 2014.
Former Oxfam fundraising officer Mrs Lane is pictured with her son Letts, now 23, as a child
Shamima, who since gave birth to three children who have all died, is now in camp Roj in northern Syria.
Begum, from Bethnal Green, East London, was first found by a British journalist earlier this year at the Al-Hol camp where she gave an interview saying she wants to come back to Britain. She has also been stripped of her citizenship.
Tooba Gondal, 25, fled IS’s last stand in Baghouz, south-east Syria, and arrived at Ayn Issa camp in the north of the country in April.
She is staying at the camp with a son aged 18 months and a threeyear-old daughter.
Last week, she issued a letter of apology to the people of Britain, pleading to come back to the UK.
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