Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the day a Baltimore man escaped from a prison in Libya, and now he’s planning to head to another war zone.
Matthew VanDyke had gone to Libya to help his friends, but then he was captured by forces loyal to the former dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.
After escaping he went on to fight in that country's revolution.
“Sometimes I was terrified but you have to keep going. You have to keep going forward you have to keep gaining ground each day,” he told ABC-2 News in an interview this week.
More terrifying was the six months he spent in two of Gaddafi's prisons.
“When I was in that cell I thought I would be there for maybe a decade, two decades, three decades or executed,” he said.
Now VanDyke is spending time in the much more peaceful confines of his mother's beach house in Delaware.
But his attention continues to be drawn to the Middle East.
Syria has become a war zone -- with rebels trying to overthrow that country's leader, Bashar Assad.
VanDyke says he feels the need to go and help them. “I thought it would be fighting. But right now there's not enough weapons and ammunition for the men they already have,” he said.
Instead, he's planning to make a documentary film in an attempt to win more international support for the rebels.
“The fact is the Syrian rebels are out-manned, outnumbered, outgunned, they don't have what they need to win,” he said.
News out of Syria has focused on massacres of the rebels by the Assad regime, but VanDyke says they can succeed, and he feels the United States should support them.
“A recent poll found that Libyans like Americans more than Canadians do. We want that result after Syria,” he said. “We don't want Syrians liking jihadis and al Qaeda and Saudi Arabia and Qatar. We want them liking us.”
VanDyke wants people to know he's going to Syria as a supporter of the rebels; he doesn't plan to involve himself in combat, but he says he would defend himself.
He knows the danger, and he expects no special treatment if he is captured again.
Does he have death wish? If so, it doesn't fit with what he's trying to accomplish.
“The purpose of this project is to go make a film and bring it back and show the world,” he said. “So a key part of that equation is me shooting the footage, surviving, bringing it back and getting it out if I come out with a film that shows the world who the Syrian rebels are, what they're fighting for, improves their image in the world, leads to increased support and donations for them and inspires people in other countries to protest for their freedom then I've done a good job."
VanDyke plans to leave for Syria next month he hopes to have his documentary finished sometime this winter.
For more information on the film, click here
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