Letter to senior Canadian ISIS member complains about sandwich shortage

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A letter complaining about food, addressed to a prominent Canadian member of the so-called Islamic State, has been found in the group’s former capital of Raqqa, Syria.

Written on a page torn from a notebook, apparently by an English-speaking ISIS fighter, the letter warns the lack of food could have a “negative impact” on the battlefield.

“Please consider this letter to be a written complain [sic] about food issue,” said the letter, obtained by Global News from the British anti-ISIS fighter who found it.

“I’ve been here for last 3 nights and 2 days. In this whole period I received only 4 sandwichs [sic],” it said. “2 sandwitch [sic] each day is too tight to meet the nutrition need even.”

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A photo of a letter British anti-ISIS fighter Macer Gifford said he found in Raqqah in September 2017. Macer Gifford

Macer Gifford, a British citizen who fought in Syria against ISIS with U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, said he found the letter in September 2017.

“It was in an apartment block between the stadium and the hospital,” he said. “The entire street once housed foreign ISIS fighters. This was evident by the amount of foreign material.”

“I kept the letter because it was in English and faintly amusing. Hardly the die-hard jihadi warrior that they like to portray, just a moaning Westerner that’s out of his depth.”

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It was addressed to “Brother Abu Bakr Canadi” and opened by praising “all of your efforts in bringing good to this khatiba [brigade],” suggesting the author was a member of the fighting group.
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A captured ISIS member from Mississauga, Muhammad Ali, told Global News a Canadian named Abu Bakr led the Anwar Al-Awlaki Brigade, a group made up of English-speaking foreign fighters.

“I’ve received multiple complains [sic] from almost all the sariyah [small group of soldiers] regarding this food problem. People are getting weaker gradually which might have a negative impact on the upcoming marakah [battle].”

“An urgent action is badly needed,” it ended.

The signature is illegible.

Macer Gifford gives an interview to The Associated Press in Raqqa, northeast Syria on July 17, 2017, when several U.S. and British volunteer fighters were on the front lines in the decisive battle against IS for the Syrian city. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla). AP Photo/Hussein Malla

The existence of the Awlaki battalion was first reported by the anti-ISIS group Raqqah is Being Slaughtered Silently, which said the unit was composed of English-speaking foreign fighters assigned to “destabilize the security of the coalition countries.”

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The Australian newspaper reported that intelligence agencies had identified 10 Australians in the unit, which it said was “aimed at taking the Islamic State’s jihad abroad.” The group is named after American Al-Qaeda ideologue Anwar Al Awlaki.

In 2016, the U.S. military said the Awlaki brigade’s deputy emir, a Swedish national named Khalid Osman Timayare, was killed in an airstrike. Several Canadians were also believed to belong.

According to Ali, Abu Bakr was a member of a Syrian family and had lived in southwestern Ontario. Ali denied knowing his real name. “He was killed in Raqqah, in the siege.”

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