Another American citizen believed to have been an ISIS fighter has been transported back from Syria to the United States where he is to face trial for his alleged involvement with the group, two U.S. officials have confirmed.
They explained that the dual U.S.-Turkish national was previously held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, as well as that the U.S. military helped facilitate the transfer.
The American government has long tried to convince other countries to repatriate their citizens, something which the Justice Department has already done with several Americans allegedly involved with the terror group. Rulan Asainov was charged and repatriated last month.
But only a few countries have so far done so and the effort has seen limited success, CNN reports. Apart from the U.S., only six other countries – Italy, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan and Morocco – have publicly repatriated their fighters from SDF detention camps, where over 2000 ISIS fighter from various nations are currently held.
Back in April, U.S. officials told the outlet that they were looking into reports that a number of ISIS fighters detained in Syria the month before were American citizens.
Following the capture of ISIS’ last area of territorial control in Baghouz, Syria, the number of foreigners in detention increased notably, with 9,000 of the terror group’s fighters being held by the SDF and another 60,000 ISIS “affiliates” staying in makeshift camps where the SDF has a security presence.
The U.S. estimates that about 59 of its citizens have traveled overseas to join ISIS, while around a dozen have already been charged with terrorism after being returned to the United States. Some are also believed to have died on the battlefield.
The Justice Department has voiced concerns that ISIS affiliates could attract foreign recruits, despite the drop in individuals traveling to Syria to join ISIS. Last month, two men were arrested by the FBI in Arizona, after checking in for a flight to Egypt, where they reportedly planned to join ISIS.