John Cantlie was reportedly kidnapped by British Islamic extremists while crossing into Syria from Turkey on 19 July 2012, near Bab al-Hawa. Along with Dutch photographer Jeroen Oerlemans, Cantlie was shot whilst trying to escape their captors. In an interview with The Sun newspaper on 26 August 2012, Cantlie said it was "every Englishman's duty to try and escape if captured." Both photographers claimed they were about to be handed over to a jihad unit affiliated with al-Qaeda for ransom when they were rescued by the Free Syrian Army. Cantlie's apparent kidnapping is the first recorded case of a British journalist being held, shot and then rescued from fellow Britons during the revolutions of the Arab Spring. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also translated as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known by the Arabic acronym Daesh and self-described as the Islamic State (IS), is a Sunni, extremist, jihadist,self-proclaimed caliphate and unrecognized state in Iraq and Syria in the Middle East. The group originated as Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in 1999. This group was the forerunner of Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn, commonly known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). AQI took part in the Iraqi insurgency against US-led forces and their Iraqi allies following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2006, it joined other Sunni insurgent groups to form the Mujahideen Shura Council, which consolidated further into the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) shortly afterwards. At its height, the ISI enjoyed a significant presence in Al Anbar, Nineveh, Kirkuk and other areas, but in around 2008 its violent methods led to a backlash against it and a temporary decline. In April 2013, the group changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It grew significantly under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, gaining support in Iraq as a result of perceived economic and political discrimination against Iraqi Sunnis.After entering the Syrian Civil War, it established a large presence in the Syrian governorates of Ar-Raqqah, Idlib, Deir ez-Zor and Aleppo.In June 2014, it had at least 4,000 fighters in its ranks in Iraq, and the CIA estimated in September 2014 that it had 20,000–31,500 fighters in Iraq and Syria It had close links to al-Qaeda until February 2014 when, after an eight-month power struggle, al-Qaeda cut all ties with the group, citing its failure to consult and lack of compromise.