Inside the bloody world of Islamic State's British 'Beatles'


In the second of two articles based on interrogations by United States intelligence officials, Mediapart tells the story of the four notorious British jihadists who were to become known as 'The Beatles'. As Matthieu Suc reports, they were the first terrorists to represent to the wider world the true threat posed by Islamic State.

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Abu Khashab is a hill in the Syrian desert, half way between Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor. It is in the middle of nowhere.  It was at this remote spot on January 8th 2018 that a patrol from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested 16 foreign jihadists who were fleeing after Islamic State had lost its territories. The Kurdish SDF soldiers subsequently handed over these seemingly ordinary prisoners to the United States Army who then ascertained their identities using fingerprints and biometric checks. It was only then, as the false identities were stripped away by science, that the American military realised the importance of the capture at Abu Khashab. For they had just got their hands on 'Ringo' and 'George', the last two members of 'The Beatles' who were at large.