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Md. Man Once Held Captive In Libya Plans To Document Uprising In Syria

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Matthew VanDyke
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FENWICK ISLAND, Del. (WJZ)—Risking his life again. Baltimore native Matthew VanDyke spent months in a Libyan prison. Now he’s taking up the rebel cause in Syria.

Rochelle Ritchie traveled to Delaware to speak directly with VanDyke about his daring plans.

WJZ spoke to VanDyke at his home on Fenwick Island, just outside of Ocean City. The Baltimore native says his mission in Syria will be more about filming than fighting.

It’s been one year since the freedom fighter returned to the United States from Libya after being on the front line of death while fighting with Libyan rebels for the fall of Moammar Gadhafi.

“I came in this country willing to kill people for freedom,” VanDyke said in a 2011 interview.

After just a week of fighting in Libya, he was captured and thrown into prison. He spent nearly six months in solitary confinement– another war in itself.

“I’d rather they’d taken me out and beaten me every day then put me in a cell with other people than what they did to me in solitary,” VanDyke said.

Even after the near death experiences, imprisonment and a worried family, VanDyke  is doing it all again. This time in Syria.

Ritchie: “Some people are saying you’re crazy. What would be your response?”

VanDyke: “People can say whatever they want. What I’m doing has been done before.”

He says his mission in Syria will focus more on filming than fighting. But that doesn’t escape the possibility of death.

VanDyke says if he is captured, he doesn’t want help from the United States.

“If I get captured, I want the faith of the men I’m standing with,” he said. “I don’t want to be treated in any special way.”

His mother, however, has other plans.

“He’s my son,” said Sharon VanDyke. “Yes, I’ll do whatever as long as I’m breathing. Whatever it is I need to do to help him, I will do.”

Her son has been called everything from an imperialist to a terrorist. But he considers himself an activist for human rights.

“I’ll continue until Syria is free,” he said.

Matthew VanDyke has set up a website to raise funds for his trip. He says he needs about $25,000.  He leaves for Syria next month.

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