Sunday, July 6, 2014

Nurses described ISIS insurgents as “friendly”. Some objected when journalists referred them “terrorists”

Friendly Tikrit syndrome


Kochi, July 5: Twenty-three days in confinement in a war zone would have been harrowing but the 46 freed Indian nurses who arrived here from Iraq today had not one word of blame for the militants behind their ordeal.

Each of the women invariably described the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) insurgents as "friendly". Some of them objected when journalists referred to the militants as "terrorists".

"They are the local administration there and we cannot call them terrorists," said nurse Sinimol Chacko, a native of Kannur.

If the militants had turned "administrators" in Tikrit, where the nurses were holed up in their hospital, it was because they had overrun the city.

But the nurses The Telegraph had the chance to speak to would not call the militants their "captors" or describe themselves as "hostages" — although they agreed the rebels continued to enter and leave the hospital at their will.

The nurses, who looked in good health, said they were provided food and water by humanitarian bodies like Red Crescent as well as the militants, who never misbehaved with them.

They downplayed reports about some of them suffering injuries following a blast in the hospital. Glass shards from broken panes had hit a couple of them, the nurses said, but could not pinpoint what had caused this. It wasn't clear whether they were being diplomatic keeping in mind the welfare of the many Indians still in Iraq, about whom the government is concerned.


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