Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Italian reporter still has jitters after Syria ordeal

English
© ANSA

(By Kate Carlisle)
Rome, September 10 - Veteran war correspondent
Domenico Quirico, who returned to Italy on Monday after 152 days
held hostage in "terrifying" conditions, said he instinctively
"ducked for cover" at the sound of airplanes overhead when he
woke up in his own bed on Tuesday.
"Only after a few moments did I realize I was not in Syria,
I was home. It was a beautiful sensation," he said in an
interview with television network Sky TG24.
Quirico, a long-time journalist for the La Stampa daily,
celebrated his first day of freedom Monday after five months of
captivity in Syria along with Belgian academic Pierre Piccinin.
The 61-year-old reporter, who returned five kilos lighter
but in good health, said that his captors did not treat him
well.
"I was scared. The revolution betrayed me," he said.
"Maybe this sounds too moralistic, but truly, in Syria I
met the country of Evil," he wrote in la Stampa.
Quirico warned against United States intervention in Syria.
"The Americans have made many errors over the last years.
But to carry out an action like this would only strengthen
jihadist forces...it would be a serious error," he said.
"Our captors were happy at the idea of an American
bombardment".
Quirico said that he believed they had originally been
captured and sold by the Syrian Free Army.
"We were blindfolded for the first few days: I was afraid
I would be killed," he said.
Quirico said he thought he and Piccinin were held captive
by three rebel groups, alternately.
"We were beaten daily and - I am duty-bound to say this -
were only treated well by an al-Qaeda group.
"They were 152 days of imprisonment, small dark rooms
where we were fighting against time, fear, humiliation, hunger,
lack of pity, two mock executions, two failed escape attempts,
the silence of God, family, of others, of life. I was a hostage
in Syria, betrayed by the revolution that no longer exists and
has become fanaticism and the work of bandits" he said.
The one window of "kindness" by his captors was on June 6
when he was allowed to make a brief call to his wife Giulietta
from where he was held captive, he said.
Of the many events that took place during his six months
as a hostage, he said he was "very intrigued" by Premier Enrico
Letta's recently forged left-right government.
"I was received by Premier Letta and I never would have
imagined that (PdL Secretary Angelino) Alfano would be standing
next to him...but this too is politics," he said.
A government based on a precarious alliance between
traditional foes - Letta's own centre-left Democratic Party (PD)
and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of
Freedom (PdL) party - was forged in April to break a stalemate
that left Italy without a government for two months.

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