A Dutch freelance photographer is lucky to be alive. Jeroen Oerlemans says he and a British photographer were held captive by Islamic extremists in Syria for a week starting on July 19, after crossing the border with Turkey in the hopes of traveling to Aleppo.
"We immediately knew we were in the wrong place," Oerlemans told Anderson Cooper. The two men were blindfolded, handcuffed and repeatedly told to "prepare to die” and to ”repent." Oerlemans said the jihadists thought they were spies who worked for the CIA, even though he told them they were journalists.
"We thought we’d better take our fate into our own hands," Oerlemans said. The two journalists tried to escape their captors, but were shot and recaptured. Oerlemans said he was hit in the thigh, while his colleague was shot in the arm. Oerlemans said their captors fired 20 to 30 shots at them. "We thought we'd be killed," he added.
Tonight on the program, hear how Oerlemans says he was eventually freed by what he calls a “rag tag army.” We'll see you at 8 and 10 p.m. ET. In the meantime, watch a preview of the interview above.
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