Former Daesh* fighter Jack Letts, aka ‘Jihadi Jack’, is seeking to downplay his connections to higher ups in the militant group, according to former British soldier Alan Duncan. Duncan, an ex- British sniper, travelled to Iraq in 2015 to fight against Daesh with Kurdish militias. He told The Sun that interviews he has been conducting with jailed former fighters have led him to conclude that:
“[Jack Letts] definitely married into a top ISIS Iraqi family and that explains why he was down in Mosul [Iraq’s second largest city, captured by ISIS in 2014]."
Duncan explained that:
“The tribal leaders are what you would call Imams - as soon as a tribal leader gives his allegiance to ISIS he becomes an Emir. They basically become a leader in ISIS. Letts married into that family.”
The former member of the Queen’s Own Highlanders and Royal Irish Regiment claimed that Jack Letts must be more connected in Daesh than people realise because “You don't marry into a family like that and get a wife like that if you're nothing". The Sun quoted an unnamed terrorist expert, with familiarity of the case of Jack Letts, who warned that it is difficult to properly verify information regarding the former jihadist’s time in Iraq.
Detained in a Prison in Syria With No End in Sight
Jack Letts, who once held British and Canadian citizenship, travelled to areas under the control of Daesh in Iraq and Syria in 2014. The Kurdish-led Syrian People's Protection Units (YPG) captured Jack Letts in May 2017, where he has remained as a prisoner of war in a prison for jihadist fighters in Qamishly, Northern Syria. Authorities in northeast Syria called on the UK and Canadian governments to initiate proceedings for Jack Letts to be repatriated as early as October 2017. But in 2019 the UK government stripped Jack Letts of his British citizenship, while Canadian authorities refuse to take him into their custody. Syrian Kurdish authorities have long complained that their detention camps, for foreign fighters and their families, are overcrowded but European governments continue to drag their feet when it comes to repatriating the detainees.
Both of Jack’s parents, John Letts and Sally Lane, were convicted under the Terrorism Act in June 2019 for sending Jack £225 in order to help bring him back to the UK, despite police recognising that neither parent sought to actually support terrorism. A conviction which some rights groups condemned as being draconian.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in the Russian Federation and many other countries.