Two British IS 'Beatles' captured by Syrian-Kurdish fighters

Two British IS 'Beatles' captured by Syrian-Kurdish fighters
Syrian Democratic Forces have captured two of four British IS foreign fighters known as 'The Beatles', who were notorious for torturing and murdering prisoners.
2 min read
09 February, 2018

Two British foreign fighters who played a key role in the Islamic State group's propaganda efforts have been captured by Syrian-Kurdish fighters.

Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee el-Sheikh were part of a notorious cell of four British militants known as "The Beatles" due to their accents.

The men were captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces in January and were known for their cruelty towards Western hostages in their care.

Both grew up in London and were the last two members of the cell who were being hunted down by the US. 

Mohammed Emwazi - known as Jihadi John - is believed to have been killed in a drone strike in 2015, while Aine Davis is currently being held in Turkey.

The four British militants gained a notorious reputation for the torture and sickening murders of Western captives. Their murders were usually recorded on video and used by IS as propaganda. 

The two militants are being interrogated by Kurdish and US forces and could know the fate of British journalist John Cantlie who was held hostage by the group.

"We are looking to exploit real-time intelligence. But so far nothing of a grand nature has been obtained," Colonel John Thomas, a spokesman for US Central Command told Reuters.

Another US official - speaking on condition of anonymity - told AFP that anti-IS forces will continue to hunt down other foreign fighters.

"El-Shafee el-Sheikh and Kotey represent a small portion of the hundreds of foreign-born ISIS terrorists from several nations who have been taken off the battlefield by Syrian Democratic Forces in eastern Syria since October 2017," the source said.

The four men were given "The Beatles" moniker by their hostages and carried out beatings, electrocutions, mock executions and crucifixions to instil terror in the prisoners.

The captives usually met gruesome ends with US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, and UK aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning all beheaded by the group.

Muslim convert Alexanda Amon Kotey was of Ghanaian and Cypriot background, born and raised in London.

El Shafee el-Sheikh was born in Sudan and grew up in West London and was said to have been radicalised "lightning fast".

The UK has not yet confirmed if the captured militants are the men.