If only the special forces interfered sooner.
This is the first glimpse inside the secret underground prison where ISIS caged Western hostages – including James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines – former fellow prisoners have claimed.
Freed captives told MailOnline they lived in wretched conditions alongside them, half-starved on hard concrete floors in almost permanent darkness in the basement room of the abandoned factory in the Sheikh Najjar Industrial City, in the suburbs of Aleppo, during the last four months of 2013.
They were then moved to Raqqa, Syria, where they were handed over to their executioner, the infamous ‘Jihadi John’ and his death squad.
The former prisoners gave a chilling insight into the ordeal that the men – and allegedly one woman – endured in the bleak darkness.
One of the former hostages who talked to MailOnline identified the dungeon – either a disused wood or furniture factory – from footage broadcast by a pro-Syrian TV Channel earlier this year, after President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces pushed out Islamist rebel groups from the heavily contested area.
But the Syrian reporter walking through the ISIS prison – before the world was revulsed by the video of Jim Foley’s execution in August – had no idea that it had housed nearly 20 Western journalists and aid workers.
As he walks through, he points the cameraman to discarded blankets, tattered mattresses and plastic water bottles that are strewn around the dusty floor in the footage – haunting evidence of the miserable existence of the prisoners who had been caged there.
The reporter also posted images of his visit to the Sheikh Najjar prison to his Facebook page, showing the cubicles in which some of the prisoners were believed to have been kept.