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British 'pharmacist' detained in Syria accused of working with Isis

A British man was reportedly arrested by Kurdish militia on the Syrian border with Iraq last month
A British man was reportedly arrested by Kurdish militia on the Syrian border with Iraq last month

A man claiming to be a pharmacist from Birmingham has been accused of working with Islamic State (Isis) in video footage shared on social media over the weekend.

The video was posted on Twitter by the International Volunteers Report (IVR) – which describes itself as “an organisation founded to provide a reliable source of news from Kurdistan” – on Saturday (September 22), and shows a blindfolded man being questioned.

The man was arrested “around one month ago” by members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed Kurdish militia, near Hajin in Deir ez-Zor, a province on the Syrian border with Iraq, the IVR claimed on Twitter.

The man – who tells his captors his name is Anwar Miah – claims to be a “qualified pharmacist” from Birmingham, who has been working in hospitals in Syria for “under four years”.

When questioned whether he is working for Isis, the man says: “The areas that I worked in were controlled by [Isis] but I work with the general people in the general hospitals.

“They were controlled by [Isis]. I can’t do anything about that, but all my work was with the public.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) could not confirm to C+D the veracity of the video or the identity of the man.

“As all UK consular services are suspended in Syria, it is extremely difficult to confirm the whereabouts and status of British nationals there,” an FCO spokesperson said.

“Anyone who has travelled to these areas against UK government advice, for whatever reason, is not only putting themselves in considerable danger, but also under suspicion.”

If you are able to identify the man shown in the video, please contact C+D confidentially by emailing [email protected]

If you have any news about your pharmacy to share, contact C+D on [email protected]

Interleukin -2, Community pharmacist

Well.......Boys and Girls ....I found this invigorating, not the article by the way which is quite useless and pointless but rather the impassioned mud slinging match that followed amognst our esteemed fellow proffesionals. It s a welcome departure from the dull boring stuff and i say we should have more of it! 

For that alone lets have more articles like this! Any pharmacists recently travelled to Kabul? Anyone ?

A England, Manager

James, can you please answer this question, what is your background? In other words are you a doctor, Pharmacist, journalist, etc. And also Grace, what is your background?

Sharon Stone, Communications

Well done Waldron for bringing this to light even if you failed to write about the Boots Alliance delivery driver convicted of plotting to attack U.S. serviceman at RAF Mildenhall. We need to know about these things in Pharmacy even if Eggleston and Co don't think its news worthy.

A England, Manager

Sharon, if you would like to know about the politics in regards to Syria, maybe you should seek the BBC or Fox or PressTV, which ever bias you fancy. It seems you have forgotten or perhaps were never aware, this is the website of the C&D (stands for Chemist and Druggist) publication and it relates to pharmacy and health matters. So if you are going to talk here please keep it relevant, if Syria is going to be mentioned here let's talk about the health and medicines supply for the poor Syrians.... Or do you have such hate to other cultures/ethnicities, that you cannot see their plight?

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

I am unclear as to the purpose of this article. I presume the GPhC have been informed and, in the event it is proven that the individual has done something that would impair his fitness to practice, I would expect them to act accordingly. Otherwise, it is inappropriate for the C&D to include such an article, on the basis that it is not in anyone's interest to know this. If the idea is "here is a pharmacist working for ISIS" I am unclear as to how the profession or the public benefit from knowing this. If it is some misguided Islamophobia, then I can only express my disappointment in the C&D. As 'OJ' posted - we can get all the (inflammatory) information we want from other sources. Not what I follow C&D for!

John Dow, Advertising

Stephen Eggleston seemed surprisingly quiet when CAPT FX and BenieI were babbling on about bombs and extremism and how naff this country was which was also nothing to do with Pharmacy! If you're going to comment on whats newsworthy then be consistent man!

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

With respect John Dow, those articles/comments must have passed me by.

Not-So-Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

Look on the one about bias in FtP cases. Quite enlightening regarding the attitudes of some pharmacists

Alan WHITEMANN, Communications

Well, Stephen Eggleston , for your info, I was interested to read this. and its pompous of you to suggest its in no ones interest ( speak for yourself ) and I await any further updates on this important matter Mr Waldron !!

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

Alan WHITEMANN - There is a big difference between being in someones interest and being interesting. For example, I would suggest it is your patients interests to know you are a properly regulated pharmacist. I cannot say if they would find you interesting

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

*This comment has been deleted for breaching C+D's community principles*

Sharon Stone, Communications

I think Stephen Eggleston needs to read the Fitness to Practice web page NOT the C and D if he wants to know if someone is properly regulated. 

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

Indeed Sharon Stone - and yet this is not an article about FtP so you point is lost on me

A LOCUM, Community pharmacist

i wonder if the guy stated he was a 'journalist' would grace and james put this article in ? at moment there's no proof , only slurr and scaremongering , but whats's new pussycat ?

Arun Bains, Community pharmacist

What’s new? Your spelling and grammar.

A LOCUM, Community pharmacist

,,,,, spelling ? your own name is spelt wrong , aaron , and grammar ? i could write a book on amusing grammar on prescriptions written by out of hours gp's  , what it must be like to be perfect, aaron  ?

O J, Community pharmacist

Keep World Politics and Religion away from the profession.
C&D please don't get yourself dragged into something that may impact certain readers and polarise certain ethnicity/religion. I think DAILY MAIL. et al provides the country with enough entertainment on that.
I am certain our security and intelligence agencies our capable to authenticate the identity of this individual
I strongly advise to withdraw this article as the material it contains goes against your stated community principle. Furthermore, this creative piece of journalism serves no interest to the C&D readers.

A England, Manager

Now getting back to pharmacy, C&D can you give me an update on what the GPhC is doing to deal with board members/owners of the multiples, that are cutting corners to maintian their market capitalization and putting patients at risk of harm and pharmacists and pharmacy staff having to work beyond what is safe? Also what pressure is C&D putting on the GPhC to make these board memebers/owners liable when stress/pressure/lack of resources causes harm?

A England, Manager

James I am glad you are uncomfortable, it's a topic you are likely to know nothing about (well the truth anyway)...but hey thats ok, because you are an editor with C&D, which when I last checked stood for Chemist and Druggist!

M Nazari, Community pharmacist

Even normal news outlets reported that someone with same name was struck of the register in 2014 but C&D how you came you failed to state this in your article that he was not a UK registered pharmacist for years. I am not saying that it matter in his case but its a major factual fact relevent to your article.  

James Waldron, Editorial


I take your point, but so far we have received no information that confirms that the individual in the video is, or has ever been, a registered pharmacist. I would therefore be uncomfortable implying to readers that we know his identity, based purely on a name given under duress. 


James Waldron, C+D Editor

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

I’m confused. Given everything you have said why did you publish this article ?

James Waldron, Editorial

Hi Benie,

I took the view that a man in Isis-held territory claiming to be qualified UK pharmacist would be of interest to C+D's readership. However, I will certainly take on board all feedback about this particular story when considering our coverage in future.


James Waldron, C+D Editor

Not-So-Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

The man isn't here, isn't currently registered (he's been away for 4 years - no CPD), doesn't seem to be working for ISIS - realistically, this story is actually quite pointless and potentially inflammatory. 

Not-So-Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

Benie, I agree with you on this one - this seems racist to me.

A England, Manager

What pathetic and now ugly nonsense from C&D! What sort of a health/medical publication is this! Is C&D just getting on the current band wagon of slurring Islam and Muslims and I even sense a hint of prejudgement on the part of Grace. Please do your job and stick to Pharmacy, if you can't do your job please let someone else have a shot.

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