Brit detained in Syria on suspicion of Islamic State involvement claims to be a 'pharmacist from Birmingham'

A Brit who claims to be a pharmacist from Birmingham has been detained in Syria on suspicion of being a member of Islamic State.

Video footage shows the man, who says his name is Anwar Miah, blindfolded being questioned by his captors.

In the clip a man with a British accent says his name is Anwar Miah, from Birmingham, and explains that he has been in the country for “just under four years”.

Asked if he is a member of IS, he replies: “I’m a doctor. I’m a qualified pharmacist from the UK. I studied medicine and pharmacy.”

He is said to have been apprehended by Kurdish forces a month ago near Hajin in Deir ez-Zur, a province on the Iraq border.


Asked to explain why he is in the area, he says: “I came here to work with the general people and to work in their general hospitals. I’ve been working in the hospitals since I came.”

Quizzed on whether he is a member of Islamic State, or Daesh, he says the areas he worked in were controlled by Daesh, but he worked with ‘general people’ in the ‘general hospitals’, adding: “I mean they were controlled by Daesh, I can’t do anything about that. All my work was with the public.”

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The man’s detention comes after two Britons suspected of being part of an Islamic State execution group known as ‘The Beatles’ were captured in Syria in February.

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, who fell into the hands of Kurdish militia fighters in January, are thought to have been part of the group alongside Mohammed Emwazi, nicknamed ‘Jihadi John’, and Aine Davis.

Alexanda Kotey, left, and El Shafee Elsheikh, are allegedly among four British jihadis who made up an Islamic State execution cell dubbed “The Beatles” (Picture: AP)

The four Londoners, named after the ’60s band because of their English accents, have been linked to a string of hostage murders in Iraq and Syria.

Shiraz Maher, director of Kings College London’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, said Miah’s detention raised questions over how many foreigners remain in the region with IS.

He tweeted: “One of the big questions and dilemmas for security agencies, after Islamic State lost Raqqah and Mosul, is: who died? Who survived? How many got away and where are they now?”