“It is a moral duty to say this”
A Belgian teacher who was kidnapped by rebels in Syria said he overheard the militants acknowledging that President Bashar Al-Assad was not responsible for last month’s chemical weapons attack.
Speaking French, Piccinin tells RTL that he overheard rebels acknowledging that Assad was not behind the chemical weapons attack.
Pierre Piccinin da Prata was kidnapped along with Italian war journalist Domenico Quirico back in April near Damascus. According to Quirico, the two were subjected to torture, humiliation and mock executions by the western-backed rebels. They were freed yesterday and flown to Rome after the Italian Foreign Ministry managed to secure their release.
According to Quirico, the rebels who held him and Piccinin as prisoners set about on a “terrifying odyssey across Syria.”
“We were moved around a lot…it was not always the same group that held us, there were very violent groups, very anti-West and some anti-Christian,” he told AFP, adding that when the two escaped they were tracked down by rebels within 48 hours and “seriously punished.”
Piccinin told Italy’s RTL radio that he heard a conversation during which members of the Abu Ammar rebel brigade admitted that Assad was not behind the attack in Ghouta that the Obama administration has cited in building a case for military intervention.
“It is a moral duty to say this. The government of Bashar al-Assad did not use Sarin gas or other types of gas in the outskirts of Damascus,” said Piccinin.