According to Nicolas Henin, a French journalist held captive and subjected to torture by ISIS for nearly a year, the airstrikes in Syria are a deadly trap for the international community.
Henin was held for seven years in Syria and has spoken about how the infamous British national Mohammed Emwazi, known more widely known as Jihadi John, was amongst his captors.
In an interview with The Syria Campaign, Henin laid out his strategy for effectively facing off against ISIS. He thinks that a no-fly zone in areas of Syria controlled by the militant group is the best course of action, and that our current one plays right into the militants’ hands.
“The winner of this war will not be the party that has the newest, the most expensive or the most sophisticated weaponry, but the party that manages to win over the people on its side.”
Henin explained that Europe’s response to the refugee crisis could be a potential tool, saying that by offering to house refugees, we’re winning them over to our side, rather than forcing them to side with jihadists by treating them with hostility and giving them nowhere else to turn.
He believes that instituting strict no-fly zones in ISIS-occupied areas would provide security for the civilians within them, which would be the ultimate way to dampen and destroy the self-proclaimed Islamic State’s influence in the region. According to Henin, the international community should focus on the safety of the people in Syria and promoting tolerance internationally.
Henin is critical of the international community for failing to understand Isis’s strategy. He says their grave mistakes are causing unnecessary suffering for the local people, whose trust it is critical we gain.
“What we have to do – and this is really key – is we have to engage the local people. As soon as the people have hope for a political solution, the Islamic State will just collapse.”
Featured image via screen grab