An Italian journalist and Belgian writer who had been held captive in Syria for the past six months were released this past Sunday. Domenico Quirico says he overheard a conversation held on Skype by his captors. The captors claimed that the recent chemical attack in Syria was orchestrated by the rebels to draw Western countries into the fight against the Assad regime.
Quirico told his newspaper, La Stampa daily, “In this conversation, they said that the gas attack on two neighborhoods of Damascus was launched by the rebels as a provocation to lead the West to intervene militarily.”
Although Quirico concedes that he has no way of validating the information he overheard, he also points out that one of the three participants in the conversation identified himself as a Free Syria Army general.
The Free Syria Army is the faction of the Syrian rebels who have been described as the “moderates” in the fight against the Assad regime. Just yesterday the Free Syria Army began receiving arms from the American government.
The Daily Mail has more information on how the journalists were treated by the captors, whom they believed to be that same “moderate” Free Syria Army:
His fellow captive, Mr Piccinin de Prata told Belgian radio station RTL that he had a ‘moral duty’ to share what he heard.
Since they were released on Sunday, the pair have spoken of their ordeal at the hands of their captors, who were thought to be from the Free Syria Army.
The men told reporters that they were beaten on a daily basis and subjected to two mock executions.
Piccinin said that they were treated as though they were ‘subhuman’.