Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Derry family distraught as son joins Syria's rebels

Eamon Bradley from Derry on horseback in the Middle East
Eamon Bradley from Derry on horseback in the Middle East
Syria's uprising against president Bashar Assad's rule began in 2011
Syria's uprising against president Bashar Assad's rule began in 2011

The family of a Londonderry man who is believed to be in Syria fighting for rebels battling the regime of President Assad are distraught by what he has done.

Eamon Bradley – who was born and brought up in the Creggan area of Derry – is understood to have told his mother he was going to Turkey on holiday.

But instead he gained passage to Syria where he has joined an organisation fighting in the bloody civil war there.

Last night at the Bradley family home his aunt said Mr Bradley's mother was too distraught to speak.

While it is still not clear if the former St Joseph's High School student is with the emerging extremist group Isis or one of the many other factions fighting in the Middle East, he has in recent months developed a deep interest in the conflict that is ravaging Syria.

On his Facebook page, Bradley lists among his interests books with a strong Islamic association including Medicine Of The Prophet, The Inevitable Caliphate? and The Koran.

More recently he was connected through social media with the Islamic Front, Syria/Islamic Army and Muhammed Islamic Movement.

This particular site has hundreds of photographs of young men in army fatigues, some clearly at training camps while others pose with their faces covered, brandishing weapons.

While many of Mr Bradley's friends on Facebook are clearly people he knows from his home city of Derry, there are many more now who live and work in the Middle East and who have Islamic names.

A lot of these 'friends' are associated with the conflict in Syria.

His apparent conversion to Islam has left many of his friends in Creggan bewildered, including one who said: "He's the subject of conversation every time we meet up for a drink.

"No one really gets it.

"He dropped out of circulation a while ago and no one knew what he was up to.

"He was known for being a decent fella and a good lad.

"He never went completely overboard like some of the crowd

"I often thought he was a wee bit different to the rest of them.

"And now I know I was right.

"One minute he's living in the Creggan off Westway Road and the next he's shacked up in a desert carrying an AK-47."

The brutal conflict in Syria is thought to have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, including those of some of the hundreds of foreigners, including many from the UK, who have flocked to the region to fight.

Further reading

Imams urge UK Muslims not to join in 'holy war'  

Isis declares new Islamic state with 'restoration of caliphate'

Assad’s enemies in Syria, whom Tony Blair’s bombing of Damascus would have helped, now threaten Iraq

Sunni caliphate has been bankrolled by Saudi Arabia

US military advisers on way to Iraq

Iraq is slipping over the edge as Isis advances on Baghdad

Obama deploying US troops to Iraq

Warning of a 'thousand Bin Ladens' in SOS plea to world for help stopping Isis advance

PM: Insurgencies are threat to UK

Assad’s enemies in Syria, whom Tony Blair’s bombing of Damascus would have helped, now threaten Iraq

Iraq crisis: Sunni caliphate has been bankrolled by Saudi Arabia

Syria conflict: The silence in Homs emphasises the city’s fate. There’s barely a breath of wind

CIA, MI6 and Turkey's rogue game in Syria

Sunni revolt in Syria has given al-Qa’ida more power in Iraq

Why the global 'war on terror' went wrong

Is Saudi Arabia regretting its support for al-Qa’ida groups?

On the march with Assad’s army in Yabroud, Syria

Exodus of Christians from the Middle East is a tragedy and a blow to the basic pride of Arab Islamic civilisation

Syrian rebel commander Abu Sakkar filmed cutting out soldier's heart and eating it

Exodus of Christians from the Middle East is a tragedy and a blow to the basic pride of Arab Islamic civilisation

Syria's al-Qa’ida rebels move personnel and weaponry ahead of expected US air strikes

Syria, the Saudi Arabia connection: The Prince with close ties to Washington at the heart of the push for war

Hezbollah takes fight to anti-Assad rebels as Syria’s war spills into Lebanon

UK-based extremists back from Syria

Syria rebels 'may have used chemical weapons'

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