Jack Letts, the young British-Canadian man accused of travelling to Syria to fight for ISIS, has told British broadcaster ITV News that he misses his mum, the TV show Doctor Who and the taste of English snacks.
In an interview filmed in a Kurdish jail, “Jihadi Jack” as he is commonly known, also said that at the time of the 2015 Paris theatre attacks by Islamic militants, he thought the murderous rampage that killed 130 people was a “good thing.”
“To be honest, like I said, if I am going to start a new part of my life I don’t want to start it on a lie,” Letts, 23, told ITV News security editor Rohit Kachroo. “To be honest, at the time, I thought it was a good thing.
He said he was living in Raqqa, Syria, at the time and was “getting bombed every five minutes by coalition jets … literally, I’ve seen children burned alive.”
“At the time, you have this idea … of why shouldn’t it happen to them … but then I realized they had nothing to do with it.”
While living in Raqqa, the former hub for ISIS power in the region, Letts said that he saw murders and executions and was repulsed by them.
Letts, a Muslim convert who grew up in Oxford, travelled to Syria in 2014. He told ITV News that he left Raqqa and tried to travel overland to Turkey where he intended to live out his life but was arrested by Kurdish forces and transferred to a prison in Qamishli in northern Syria, along the Turkish border.
Not seeking return to Canada
Letts’ father is Canadian. He told ITV News that he had a Canadian passport through his father at one point but is unsure if it is still valid. He said he is not seeking to return to Canada.
“I feel British, I am British. My dad’s Canadian, if the U.K. accepted me I would go back to the U.K., it’s my home, but I don’t think that is going to happen,” he told ITV News.
“I don’t think I’m going to be given … back to Britain, for example … or some Canadian official is going to come and help me because like I said — no one really cares.”
Letts said would be willing to remain in his Kurdish prison for another two years or longer so female prisoners could be sent home first.
While he misses the traditional English meat-filled pastry and episodes of Doctor Who what he wants most is to see his mother.
“I miss my mum. I know that sounds a bit toddler-ish,” he said. “Even if I could just see my mum — I would like just a phone call, I don’t know if Britain can do that for me here, but I’d like just a phone call to my mum — it’s been two years.”
Letts has been accused of being a member of ISIS. It is an allegation his father John Letts disputes, pointing out that both the U.K. and Canada have yet to lay charges against him.
His parents say he wanted to come home in late 2015 and their attempt to transfer him money ran afoul of Britain’s anti-terror financing law. They were charged under that law in 2016; they maintain their innocence, but the case is still pending.